Mark Hunt could have just taken the money and left, but the former PRIDE and K-1 veteran didn’t want to do that. So, instead, he told UFC President Dana White to put him inside the Octagon.
Saturday night, at UFC 135, Hunt defeated Ben Rothwell on the pay-per-view card via unanimous decision, improving to 2-1 with the organization.
When Zuffa bought out PRIDE and the contracts that went with it, White told Hunt they would just pay off his remaining deal and he wouldn’t have to fight.
“I actually asked Mark to come to this press conference,” White said. “Many of you probably don’t know, or some of you do know, when we bought PRIDE, he came as part of the PRIDE deal. It was back and forth, and basically I was like, ‘You know what? We’ll just pay you off what we owed you in the PRIDE deal.’ Mark Hunt said, ‘No, I want to com, and I want to fight.'”
Hunt and Rothwell fought to the point of exhaustion, as the two heavyweights were caught up in the elevation problems that Denver presented. Still, the “Super Samoan” did enough damage in the fight to pull off the decision against the former IFL champion.
“This guy’s got ton of heart, and I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” White said. “I really wanted him to be at this press conference tonight. I have nothing but respect for Mark Hunt, and I’m actually glad that we worked this thing out.”
The 37-year-old is now 7-7 in his MMA career.