These days, we mostly hear about Mark Hunt’s constant troubles with the UFC and his many statements against what he believes is unfair treatment and low pay. From the looks of things, he’s not changing his stance anytime soon.
In an interview with the crew over at LowKickMMA, Hunt unloaded on the UFC’s pay structure and practices yet again. This time, he used Henry Cejudo as an example of the problems inherent to the organization’s business model.
You may remember that Cejudo expressed his desire to leave on top, and wants to move away from combat sports entirely to live the rest of his life. But he also stated that the booking fee was going to be more than what he’s currently got on offer if he were to return. Hunt used that as the crux of his argument in favor of higher purses for those fighting in what is purported to be the NFL of MMA:
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about and I know this stuff because I was in it,” Hunt said. “I never got the title but if I did I would’ve been exactly like Henry Cejudo and the rest of them – speaking my mind and telling I want more. When you’re a top end prize-fighter or world champion you don’t need to ask more. If that was a boxing champion do you think they would be asking for more? No! Like I said, they’re not sharing the entire revenue, they (fighters) are only getting a small percentage and that’s totally wrong.”
“These fighters should be getting paid accordingly and they’re not and you can see that by guys like a world champion, Triple C, Henry Cejudo saying ‘I need more money’. Why is that Henry? Is there something wrong? ‘Yeah, because I’m not getting my worth. I’m not getting what I’m supposed to be getting.’”
Hunt certainly has a point, it’s a bad look for a champion to have to ask for more money. However it could be argued that Cejudo is content with his current pay and was only implying that he’d demand a higher purse to come back in an unlikely scenario. Of course, only Cejudo an answer and address that point, and it’s unreasonable to think that this could be a ploy on his part to ask for a pay raise.
Either way, it doesn’t negate Hunt’s overall point here. Fighters are in fact getting a smaller share of the pie than any other major sport for various reasons. Chief among them would be the inordinate amount of control that management holds and the lack of a union or association that would be able to negotiate better payouts and guarantees for all parties involved.
Meanwhile, Hunt’s not just talking about other fighters, he’s actively involved in taking further legal action against the UFC and wants to continue fighting to pay off legal fees. At 46 years of age, he’s looking into boxing at the moment and believes he’s got six more fights in him.
His UFC run began with a disastrous debut against Sean McCorkle, but turned things around to have one of the most fun heavyweight runs in the history of the sport. He eventually challenged for the interim championship against Fabricio Werdum at one point, and had his last win against feared striker Derrick Lewis in 2017. He suffered three straight losses after that, but hasn’t lost his appetite for swinging leather. Now free from his UFC contract, he’s got the opportunity to find more lucrative deals elsewhere himself.