Over the past ten days there has been an enormous outcry online in support of seeing Mark Hunt placed opposite heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146 if/when Alistair Overeem is officially yanked from the bout due to an inability to get licensed based on a failed drug test. Rather than jump on the bandwagon I’d rather hop in the SWAT six-wheeler to break up the Rally for Mark Hunt.
There are a number of reasons to loft some proverbial cans of tear gas at Hunt’s so called “Army of Doom” and send folks back to their keyboards understanding the sport is more important than the circus surrounding it.
For starters placating the wishes of a small contingent of hardcore fans would set a terrible precedent. If the UFC does so I guarantee things will not stop at Hunt. Throw a hungry dog a steak and it will come back again in the future expecting the same. If a few thousand people can influence the organization to put a relative “no name” who is 38 and barely has a winning record in the headlining slot of a major PPV, what’s to stop those same folks from demanding other match-ups in the future that don’t make divisional sense?
Also, from a related standpoint, how is Hunt worthy of a title-shot in the least bit? He holds a trio of consecutive wins over Chris Tuchscherer (out of the UFC and hasn’t fought since), Ben Rothwell (1-2 in the UFC), and Cheick Kongo (biggest wins are Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione). It’s a mediocre list at best, not to mention he lost to Sean McCorkle who is also competing on the regional scene rather than inside the Octagon. While certain fighters may have been rushed into championship clashes, such as Brock Lesnar or even Ronda Rousey, typically there’s a good reason such as widespread marketability or massive potential. Hunt has neither. He’s 8-7 with losses to smaller guys like Gegard Mousasi and Melvin Manhoef plus a ton of first-round defeats.
Don’t get me wrong. Hunt’s support has been a beacon of light in otherwise dark times. Giving him a title-shot would make for a nice story. But MMA is a sport and career-changing opportunities should be awarded on merit, not Tweets; it’s real life, not Rocky.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC