UFC 209 will play host to a massive heavyweight contest when No. 6-ranked Mark Hunt takes on No. 3-ranked Alistair Overeem in Las Vegas; however, it comes at a time where ‘The Super Samoan’ and the UFC are not on the best of terms.
Following his co-main event loss to Brock Lesnar at UFC 200, it was revealed that Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance in a test administered by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), lighting a fire under the former K-1 champ to the point he sought out legal action in the matter.
In the midst of a lawsuit with the UFC, Hunt finds himself booked in a bout with one of the deadliest heavyweights the UFC’s roster has to offer in Overeem, a bout which Hunt told MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour he was forced into taking:
“They put me in a position, like well what am I supposed to do?” Hunt said. “They forced this fight on me, pretty much.”
“I couldn’t go anywhere else,” Hunt said. “That’s the position right now it is. If I couldn’t work anywhere else and I’m still trying to get my fair deal in this thing, what am I supposed to do? If they’re going to let me go, let me go. At least I can go work somewhere else. I’ve gotta look after my family and my commitments as well. And they can’t just sit me at the back of the bus without having any work. You can’t do that.”
When asked why he decided to take the bout against Overeem given his history of abusing performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), Hunt says he doesn’t ‘pick and choose’ his fights and is prepared to step into the Octagon with whomever the UFC throws at him:
“I don’t make these choices,” Hunt said. “I don’t ask to fight anybody. All I ask is to fight the best fighters in the world. All I’m doing is when they ask, ‘Will you fight this person?’ [I say,] ‘Yes, because I’m employed with them.’ So when they ask, ‘Will you fight this guy?’ Of course, I’ll fight anybody in the world.”
“This is why we’re here now, because of this situation,” Hunt said. “You want to close the door on me? We’re here now. So what are you gonna do?”