Official: UFC confirms Hunt is fit to fight
MARK Hunt is almost guaranteed a fight at UFC 221 in Perth after the company today declared him fit to continue fighting.
Suspended indefinitely since October, Hunt has finally been cleared after undertaking -- and passing -- a series of brain injury examinations in the United States.
The Daily Telegraph first revealed the news on Tuesday, when Hunt's manager Zen Ginnen confirmed his charge had been given the green light by specialists from the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Las Vegas.
And now, the UFC has confirmed it, releasing a statement which reads: "After a full medical analysis at the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, UFC confirms that heavyweight athlete Mark Hunt has been cleared to compete."
The announcement ends a frustrating, and at times bizarre, couple of months for the cult heavyweight, who has been sidelined since the publication of a controversial interview with Australian website Players Voice in early October.
In the article, Hunt confessed to slurring his words, struggling to sleep and forgetting things he had done only 24 hours earlier.
Subsequently suspended by UFC officialdom, the Sydney slugger then went and got tested by two Australian brain injury experts, whom he insists both cleared him to continue fighting. However, UFC president Dana White insisted the cult heavyweight undergo further examination Stateside - which Hunt reluctantly agreed to recently.
Then on Tuesday, Ginnen revealed his fighter had been cleared after a conference call hook-up with specialists Stateside. He also revealed the 43-year-old was now gunning for a heavyweight showdown with Brazilian arch rival Fabricio Werdum -- the same man parachuted into last month's UFC Sydney card after Hunt was withdrawn as part of his medical suspension.
Hunt and Werdum last fought for the UFC heavyweight title in 2014, with the Brazilian winning in Mexico via second round TKO.
Since then, the Sydney slugger has doggedly pursued a rematch with the rival who, last month at Qudos Bank Arena, Homebush, defeated Marcin Tybura via unanimous decision.
"So we would love for Fabricio to be Mark's opponent in Perth,'' Ginnen said. "Then hopefully be in line for a title hot at the back end of 2018."
After initially being sidelined for what the UFC termed "medical reasons", Hunt went to war with White - not only launching a series of profanity-laden Instagram posts, but dubbing the suspension as payback for his ongoing court battle with the company over a 2016 fight with Brock Lesnar, who tested positive for PEDs.
The UFC president quickly hit back, denying the claim while also stating that Hunt must be tested in the US.