UFC boss: Hunt must go for our brain tests
Mark Hunt must travel to Las Vegas and have his brain assessed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s chief medical adviser Dr Jeffrey Davidson if he is to fight again.
Hunt has been banned from headlining the upcoming UFC Sydney card after using a website article to reveal he was suffering symptoms linked to brain injury.
Since the contentious Players Voice piece was released, the cult heavyweight has seen two Australian brain specialists who, he insists, have declared him fit to fight.
Yet given the serious nature of his claims, UFC president Dana White now wants Hunt in the US to be assessed by his company’s physician.
Head of emergency at Valley Hospital, Las Vegas, Davidson was recently at the forefront of treating those involved in the shooting massacre which claimed 58 lives.
A practitioner for more than 20 years, he also has direct access to brain specialists from the Cleveland Clinic, with the UFC recently donating US$ 1m to its Lou Ruvo Centre for Brain Health in Las Vegas.
Already, the Hunt situation has caused plenty of attention in America, with retired women’s bantamweight champ Miesha Tate urging the Kiwi to retire.
Speaking on Sirius XM radio, Tate said: “I think Mark Hunt deserves to be a part of his children’s lives . . . not ‘ punchy’ [ punchdrunk] which i s a road he’s headed down if he continues to take this kind of punishment.
“The amount of damage that man has sustained to his brain i s astronomical.
“He’s even admitted having symptoms. It’s this early onset symptoms that are just gonna get worse. He’s too tough for his own good.”
Speaking with Players Voice last month, Hunt, 43, wrote: “Sometimes I don’t sleep well.
“You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words. My memory is not that good anymore.
“I’ll forget something I did yesterday but I can remember the shit I did years and years ago. That’s just the price I’ve paid — the price of being a fighter.
“But I’ve fought a lot of drug cheats and copped a lot of punishment from guys who were cheating and that’s not right.”
Understandably, UFC officials were concerned by the revelations.
As a result, the No 5- ranked heavyweight says he undertook — and passed — more than four hours of assessment with two Sydney specialists to prove himself right to headline against Polish heavyweight Marcin Tybura on November 19.
One of the practitioners said to have cleared Hunt i s Dr Roy Sugarman, who did not respond to interview requests.