UFC boss: Hunt must go for our brain tests

Weekend Herald - - RUGBY - Mixed Mar­tial Arts

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.

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