Well, it felt good while it lasted.
In light of Alistair Overeem’s failed random drug test ahead of UFC 146, a dedicated and considerably large group of MMA fans began a movement that would see Mark Hunt — who’s enjoying a late-career renaissance in the UFC — step up and challenge heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos for the belt in Overeem’s place. Unfortunately for those hoping to see the Super Samoan fight for the belt, UFC president Dana White isn’t having it.
“They can keep rallying,” White said at yesterday’s UFC on FUEL TV 2 post-fight presser. “That ain’t gonna happen.”
Hunt famously denied a UFC payout to get him out of the Pride contract they absorbed upon purchasing the organization to ensure his spot in the UFC. Now, the 38-year-old veteran is on an improbable (some would say) three-fight winning streak in the organization. Though impressed with Hunt’s accomplishments, White just doesn’t think it’s fair to anyone to put Hunt in against dos Santos.
“Listen, Mark Hunt’s gonna have to fight one of the top — you don’t just jump right into the title shot. I have apologized (to) and praised Mark Hunt for what he’s been able to accomplish in the situation that he was in,” he said. “I think this fight with Struve is a good fight for him. He beats Struve, he’ll break in and start fighting some of the top five heavyweights in the world.
“First of all, I gotta say, anything can happen in a fight. But, in all reality, it’s not fair to Mark Hunt either, to throw the guy right in there with a Junior Dos Santos for a title shot,” he went on. “The guy worked his way up. He beats Struve, he fights somebody in the top five. I guarantee you this, if he beats Struve, his next fight will be somebody in the top five that can get him closer to that title shot.”
UFC 146 is scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on May 26. There won’t be any official plan to replace Overeem until his hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on April 24.