Esther Lin / MMA Fighting
You don't know unless you ask! The tight-lipped, reserved Mark Hunt shared his feelings with Dana White, who apparently listened, took swift action and booked him in the biggest fight of his mixed martial arts (MMA) career all during a GREAT long-distance phone conversation.
Remember that GREAT phone conversation between Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White and heavyweight contender Mark Hunt a few days ago, which took place a few hours before "Super Samoan" was booked to face Junior dos Santos at UFC 160 on May 25, 2013?
Well, apparently it had more to do about his "treatment" during fight week and less to do with opponents, salary and other major items that get most mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters bent.
Hunt, who is fresh of an impressive knockout (KO) performance against Stefan Struve at UFC on FUEL TV 8, says there were a few discrepancies he wanted bring to White's about the treatment he was receiving as an employee of the company.
He explained on his recent appearance on "The MMA Hour:"
"I had a few discrepancies about the way I was being treated and stuff. I just wasn't happy with some of the things that were getting done here. As an employee of a company, I shouldn't be treated the way I was being treated. I didn't think it was fair. Dana listened to what I had to say, which was pretty cool. I voiced my opinions about different things that I wasn't happy about, and now I'm happy. He said, ‘You know, I can't fix the problem if I don't what the problem is.' He's being pushed so many places because he's got a big company. But I said, you know, being the boss of the company should know what goes on. I was happy he listened and then he fixed the problem. It was good. He's a good person. He listened to what I had to say and sorted it out, so it was fine."
Though Hunt didn't give precise details, he did dish out a few tidbits as to the reason(s) he was unhappy during his return to Japan on March 2, 2013:
"Look, man. One room, four guys. Come on. Co-main event. You know, I can't get one more extra ticket? Come on now. It's like, you know, there's a 20,000 [seat] arena, and I can't get one more extra ticket. I've got four tickets. Is that not fair to you, or what?"
Being an accessible and accommodating boss, White listened to Hunt and apparently took care of any "fringe" issues as the former K-1 kick boxer revealed he is being treated better now than he was before. In response, Hunt expressed gratitude at the chance to let his voice be heard and for getting the "best opportunity" of his career:
"I've got the best opportunity so far of my career. I'm happy. I'm happy the discrepancies have been fixed. I'm in a better place. I never turned down any fight. I'm always up for the opportunity. For me, it's opportunities. It's not about all this other sort of jazz. For me it's about getting these opportunities, and very rarely do they come up. You've got to take them when they come."
As for the fight itself, even though Hunt says he has no qualms in going to the ground against "Cigano," he wants to test his striking against that of his Brazilian foe:
"He's like me. He likes to stand there and bang. You know, I'd like to test his mettle. He was the best fighter in the world, and I consider myself the best fighter in the world. I class my striking really highly and so does he."
With the "discrepancies," as well as Alistair Overeem (more on that here), now out of the way, the two-heavy handed heavyweights are set to co-headline UFC 160 on Memorial Day weekend. And with the winner likely earning the opportunity to challenge the man who comes out on top later that same evening in the main event between division champion Cain Velasquez and Antonio Silva, the pot is about as sweet as it gets.
Ask, and you shall receive. A novel concept that appears to work more often than not these days when it comes to White and Co.