Why did the UFC sign Mark Hunt despite him losing his previous 5 fights?

Discussion in 'UFC' started by Kevin, Jun 6, 2012.

  1. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    Records rarely paint the full picture of a fighters history as many fighters fought weaker opponents in small organisations when building their record and others started off against better opposition in the UFC, Pride etc.

    I was looking at Mark Hunts record. Before his first MMA fight he had a 30–12 record in K1, winning the K-1 Oceania Grand Prix, Oceania GP and K-1 World GP. Some of these fights were amazing.

    His first 6 MMA fights were in Pride. After losing his first fight via an armbar in the first round, he went on a 5 fight winning streak including Wanderlei Silva and Cro Cop along the way (Check out the head kick he took off Cro Cop in one of their fights - that would have killed most people!).


    Like his first 6 fights, his next 5 fights were held in Japan in Pride, Dream and Dynamite!. He lost all 5 fights in the first round (4 by submission and 1 by TKO). He wasn't fighting bums though. His fights were against guys like Fedor, Josh Barnett and Alistair Overeem.

    At this point his record was 5 wins and 6 losses though 5 of those losses had occurred in his last 5 fights. Despite, this, he was signed by the UFC. Once again, he lost via submission in the first round, though afterwards he has won three in a row, with his record now sitting at 8 wins and 7 losses.

    Clearly, records can be misleading. Going into his last fight his record was 7-7. It's rare to see someone with that kind of record on the main card of the UFC though anyone who watched the way he took apart Cheick Kongo will know that it wasn't a mismatch (Kongo had a streak of 3 wins and a draw at that point).

    I've seen the UFC sign a few fighters that have lose their last fight or even their last two fights, though I can't think of anyone that has lost 3, 4 or 5 fights in a row and then be signed by the UFC. His last three fights have shown that they were right to sign him but in his first fight in the UFC he hadn't won in 4 and a half years (he also lost a K1 fight in the first round during this time).

    The UFC obviously don't sign people based on their records and signing Mark Hunt was clearly the right thing to do. I love watching the guy fight and I can't wait until he comes back from injury. It just seems strange that they decided to sign him at a time when he had lost his last 5 MMA fights and his last K1 fight. If anything, you would have thought they would have signed him to Strikeforce in order to test him out.

    Do the UFC also check potential fighters out in the gym i.e. do they perhaps arrange other fighters to spar with them behind closed doors so that they can check them out?

    Check out the video below. Dana says that it was due to them buying out Pride and Hunt being under contract. It's very common for them to let fighters go who are out of contract so it still seems a little strange. Perhaps other fighters have a clause that allows the UFC to cancel their contract and those that came from Pride didn't....so they could either take the money without fighting or they could choose to fight.

  2. tajnz

    tajnz New Member

    Thanks for posting the videos! :) I'm thrilled that Mark got signed, especially being a kiwi. I'm actually almost half Samoan too so there's that connection. I also follow Overeem as I'm half Dutch.;)

    Anyhow it's rather peculiar that Dana chose to sign him at this paticular point in time, after a series of losses. Albeit to some stiff competition. Like you I've always had the feeling that the UFC visits and scouts potential fighters in their gyms. Just like on the UFC PS3 games ha ha. I suspect they ask to see the fighters spar and gift it the best they've got. I personally think Hunt must of impressed scouts in the gym. I'd like to have seen what went on in that room. That combined with his potential ability probably was enough to earn him a contract. Now he has more experience perhaps he will do better. I know he has the potential and ability as we can see from his wins perhaps he just needs to get lucky with the draws. I think fighting Overeem early on was tough, I mean look at what Overeem did to Lesnar who most people thought was unbeatable! Granted Overeem was younger and up and coming when he fought Mark.

    How do you think Mark will fare? He does have his age against him but he is powerful, has a pretty good stand up game and is insanely tough. That head kick you posted ... woah.:eek::cool: He reminds me a bit of Samoan/New Zealander boxer David Tua in that they both are incredibly hard to knock out.Their opponents jaws drop when they expect them to hit the mat but they keep on swinging. The opposition must be thinking "how are you not unconscious already?!". :mad::D

    Dana gave him a shot for a reason. Hopefully he makes the most of it.
  3. Kevin

    Kevin Administrator Staff Member

    Perhaps it was just the way he fights. Even in the fights he lost he was entertaining and he's always been a guy that had the ability to knock anyone out.

    With regards to Overeem, he actually lost via a submission, which is surprising when you consider they're both know as strikers. He wasn't up and coming though. He's been fighting since 1999. He even fought (and lost to) Chuck Liddell in 2003 in Pride. He wasn't a heavyweight then though.


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