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Hunt ready for home UFC debut

08 June 2017

Posted in: Pacific Radio News,

Samoan-Kiwi MMA fighter Mark Hunt is in Auckland ahead of his clash with Derrick Lewis at UFC Fight Night 110 on Sunday. 

The upcoming bout will be Hunt's first fight in New Zealand in 16 years and his first ever mixed-martial arts fight in his birth country.

His opponent, American mixed martial artist Derrick Lewis, was welcomed into New Zealand with a powhiri at Orakei marae. 

Lewis says he isn't taking this weekend's fight lightly, despite Hunt's recent losses. 

The 43-year-old Super Samoan is feeling confident about his chances, yesterday saying "they all say they're pretty tough, until they get a punch in the face".

Mark Hunt and Derrick Lewis were welcomed with a powhiri at Orakei marae. Photo/ Eruera Rarere-Wilton. 

Hunt's last two fights have ended in losses, but his legal battle with the world's biggest fighting organization is still on its feet. 

He is alleging racketeering, fraud, battery and civil conspiracy against former opponent Brock Lesnar, the UFC organisation and its president Dana White. 

Court documents accuse Lesnar, White and the UFC of working together to "knowingly pit" Lesnar, who failed post-fight doping tests, against a clean Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July last year. 

Lesnar tested positive for a banned substance both before the bout and on fight night, with Hunt's loss eventually changed to a no-contest ruling.

Speaking to MMA podcast Bloody Elbow, Hunt says he has lost faith in the organisation's ability and desire to protect its fighters from cheaters and says the UFC must tighten its rules around doping before somebody is killed.

"They need to fix what they did wrong before someone dies and they'll be sorry about it," he says. 

An attempt by the UFC to have the case thrown out was last week unsuccessful and is currently being processed through the Nevada District Court.

Hunt is seeking a big pay out for damages to his reputation and potential earnings, and to discourage cheaters in the future.

Until then, he says "all he can do is hope" Lewis enters the ring clean this weekend. 

"He called me out, and if he's not cheating, then he's fine," says Hunt.

The fight is this Sunday at Auckland’s Spark Arena.

Tags: UFC, Mark Hunt, Derrick Lewic, Dana White,