Popular UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt has been there and done it in the combat sports world. From winning the K-1 Grand Prix, fighting and beating some top names in the Pride FC years, and joining the UFC to score some huge wins against all the odds, ‘The Super Samoan’ has one punched his way in to our hearts and minds. Unlike during his spectacular trademark finishes, Hunt has refused to walk away from the sport, even after being offered $450,000 by UFC president Dana White to retire before his first fight for the promotion.
His humble attitude and extremely likeable character sees ‘Hunto’ rise in popularity consistently, and his victories in the UFC octagon speak for themselves. Stunning knockout wins over Stefan Struve, Cheick Kongo, Roy Nelson, Frank Mir, Chris Tuchscherer and Bigfoot Silva have seen the fan friendly heavyweight come close to a title shot, but he is yet to reach that goal. But things haven’t always been this good for ‘The Super Samoan,’ as you’ll find out during this harrowing tale.
To the viewer it may have looked as though it was all gravy for Mark Hunt during his time in Pride FC, especially during his win streak that saw victories over Mirko Cro Cop and Wanderlei Silva. As it often happens, things weren’t all that great for Hunt at the time, as he discloses in his new book available on Amazon ‘Mark Hunt Born To Fight.’ Props to the Reddit forums for the quotes:
Mark Hunt vs. Fedor Emelianenko, 2006:
I was getting a little run together in Pride, feeling like myself again. I was regaining faith in my hands and my ability to drop whomever they put in front of me.
Unbeknown to me, when I’d fought Mirko I was in a title eliminator. Whoever took that fight was to be fighting Fedor for the Pride belt. After the Nishijima fight I was called to a hotel suite, and when I saw the Russian champ coming out of the room as I was about to go in, I started to glean what was going on. I had a little chit-chat with Fedor in the hallway and asked him what they had for me.
He shrugged and said, ‘They had this for me,’ nodding to his bag.
When I got into the room I found Sakakibara-san, a few guys who looked like muscle and a Korean guy who acted like he was in charge. Also in the room was a table struggling under the weight of many giant piles of crisp currency, stacked neatly.
‘How are you, Mark?’ Sakakibara-san asked.
‘I’d be doing better if I had some of that,’ I said, pointing to the table.
‘Do you want some? Would you like us to pay you in cash? We can if you like, Mark.’
No shit. They could have paid me for my next ten fights and it wouldn’t have made a dent in that pile. I declined, though. The Russians all liked to be paid in cash but I figured it would be a pain trying to explain to Aussie Customs why I was bringing a big bag of foreign currency home.
In that hotel room I got a little preview of the future downfall of Pride, but at the time I didn’t concern myself with any of the organisation’s shady, behind-the-scenes dealings. I only concerned myself with the guy in front of me, and in that hotel suite they told me that soon the guy in front of me was going to be exactly the right bloke – the world’s biggest badass. Well, second biggest anyway…