Mark Hunt also known as the “King of Walk-Offs” is a popular mixed martial artist and former kickboxer who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He earned a position as No. 8 in the official UFC heavyweight rankings and was equally the winner of the 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix.
Biography of Mark Hunt
Mark Richard Hunt was born in South Auckland New Zealand on March 23, 1974. He is of Samoan descent and grew up in a large family where he had a rough and troubled childhood which ultimately landed him in jail twice, for violent offenses.
One of his altercations outside a nightclub, shortly after being released from jail for the second time changed the course of his life. Hunt knocked out multiple people in the late-night brawl that lasted only a few minutes and this impressed one of the bouncers; Sam Marsters who later invited him to his gym to start formal training. The invitation guided Hunt towards his eventual career in the UFC.
Mark Hunt started out his kickboxing career at a Muay Thai kickboxing match a week after being picked up by Sam Marsters. He won the match through knockout and was rewarded with six-packs of beer.
Hunt moved to Sydney, Australia that year to continue training and a few years later, he settled in Liverpool Kickboxing Gym under an instructor named Hape Ngaranoa. At first, he was used by promoters as a stepping stone for their upcoming fighters and would usually take up fights at short notice.
However, after the K-1 Oceania tournament was promoted in February 2000, Hunt entered his first K-1 tournament as a heavy underdog. It was a good start for him as he knocked out three of his opponents to win the K-1 Oceania title that year, as well as in 2001. His growing reputation brought him an invitation to Japan for K-1 qualifications, where he lost his first international fight against Jérôme Le Banner, by unanimous decision. To redeem his international reputation, Hunt chose a rematch with Le Banner to which the latter agreed as Hunt would win him to advance towards the semi-finals of K-1 Finals. He became the K-1 World Grand Prix 2001 champion, by unanimous decision, after defeating his Brazilian opponent, Francisco Filho who is a Kyokushin karate champion.
In 2002, Hunt returned to defend his K-1 World Grand Prix, again, facing Le Banner in one of the biggest battles in K-1 history. He, however, lost the fight to the French man by decision in a match that would be his last K-1 World Grand Prix appearance.
The King of Walk-Offs commenced his mixed martial arts career with a fight in Japan’s PRIDE Fighting Championships and had his first MMA fight with Hidehiko Yoshida who is an Olympic gold medalist in Judo. Despite losing the fight, Hunt went on to win two fights at PRIDE Shockwave 2005 event, and at PRIDE 31: Unbreakable, where his powerful one-two punch knocked down Japanese boxer Yosuke Nishijima. His other fights in mixed martial art include the PRIDE’s 2006 Open-Weight Grand Prix; Dynamite!! 2008; and the Super Hulk Grand Prix.
From kickboxing, mixed martial art, Ultimate Fighting Championship to professional wrestling, Mark Hunt had his fair share of numerous victories. He made his UFC debut in 2010 at UFC 119 after being transferred when the Las Vegas-based organization bought out the Japanese Pride Fighting Championships.
In his years in UFC, Hunt won in several fights considered to be the best in the history of the UFC heavyweight division. His first win was at UFC 127 on Feb. 27, 2010, in Sydney; followed by UFC 144 on Feb. 26, 2012; and then at UFC on Fuel TV 8 where he defeated his opponent in a third-round TKO. His bout with Brazilian opponent Antônio Silva at UFC Fight Night 33 was considered the best in the promotion’s heavyweight history, in which one judge scored 48–47 for Hunt. He continued to win his fights in UFC Fight Night 52 (2014); UFC 193 (2015); UFC Fight Night 85 (2016); UFC Fight Night 110 (2017).
In all, he earned three Fight of the Night bonus awards and other prestigious awards such as in the Ultimate Fighting Championship: Knockout of the Night (Two times); Fight of the Night (Three times); and Performance of the Night (Two times).
As for the K-1 category, he is a four-time K-1 World Grand Prix Champion; one-time K-1 Oceania Grand Prix Champion; 1999 WKBF Australian Super Heavyweight Champion, and several other accomplishments.
Mark Hunt is quoted to be most proud of his achievements without cheating or taking any shortcuts[doping]. Meanwhile, he had announced he would not seek an extension when his contract ends in 2 fights after UFC 221. The ‘Super Samoan’ has released his first book, Born to Fight with Journalist Ben McKelvey.
Family: Wife and Daughter
Hunt had two daughters, Aurora and Sierra Hunt from his previous marriage. He met his second wife, Julie Margaret Hunt around 1994 at a reggae club and the couple had four kids together. The father of six has featured in a YouTube video titled When You’re Dating Mark Hunt’s Daughter.
Body Measurements: Height, Weight
Hunt has the bulk body structure that gives him the advantage in the ring. The former construction worker cum UFC champion described his body as nothing compared to his strong state of mind to retire fighting in honest and fair competitions. He stands at a decent 5 feet 10 inches while his body weight is 265 lbs.