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Mark Hunt: ‘You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words’

Mark Hunt is starting to feel the effects of 18 years of professional fighting.

UFC 209: Overeem v Hunt Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

UFC heavyweight contender Mark Hunt has been a professional fighter for a good duration of his adult life. Beginning a career in kickboxing in 1999, he had also been through wars during his days in PRIDE, and as the current number five-ranked heavyweight in the UFC, he is not looking to slow down any time soon.

But at the same time, he is already feeling the effects of letting both his body and brain go through all the beatings over the years. In a piece he personally wrote for Players Voice, the 43-year-old Hunt spoke about the grim possibility of actually having his life literally ended by his chosen profession.

“I will probably end my life fighting,” Hunt wrote. “I’ve been fighting since I was a child, fighting to get out of my circumstances. I used to make $300 a week, struggling to put food on the table but I have become one of the highest-paid fighters in the world. I feel that’s destiny. This is what I’m supposed to be doing and if I die fighting, that’s fine. I just hope that if it does happen, it will be in an honest and fair competition.”

Hunt says he is already feeling the physical effects of almost two decades of trading punches and kicks with some of the elite fighters in the world, and this has been the cause for concern.

“My body is f----d but my mind is still here,” Hunt wrote. “I’ve still got my senses about me and I know what’s right and wrong, which is the main thing. Sometimes I don’t sleep well. You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words. My memory is not that good anymore. I’ll forget something I did yesterday but I can remember the sh-t I did years and years ago.”

“That’s just the price I’ve paid – the price of being a fighter. But I’ve fought a lot of drug cheats and copped a lot of punishment from guys who were cheating and that’s not right.”

The issue of performance enhancing drugs is hot as of the moment, especially after Jon Jones’ B Sample from UFC 214 also came out positive. Hunt, who is no stranger to fighting opponents who have failed drug tests because of PEDs, believes it would have been a lot different if he fought clean fighters, instead.

But as for the likes of Brock Lesnar and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, two of his former opponents who both tested positive for banned substances, Hunt continues to strongly condemn them.

“I’d be champ already if it wasn’t for the cheaters,” Hunt wrote. “I’d probably be retired, sitting at home playing video games all day, eating KFC. These guys couldn’t cut it with me if they weren’t cheating. I’ve missed out on sponsors and millions of dollars. It pisses me off when I think about it.”

“I couldn’t believe that talk about Jon Jones fighting Lesnar – that would have zero legitimacy,” he continued. “In society we punish people that do bad things. Why isn’t it the same in fighting?”

“The punishments need to be harsher. Two-to-five years for a first offence, then a life ban if you are caught again. A cheater doesn’t deserve anything.”