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Heavyweight Mark Hunt has fighting words for UFC

UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt’s haymakers will be limited to his social media account for the time being.

He didn’t hold back last week after the organization pulled him from a scheduled Nov. 19 bout against Marcin Tybura in Sydney.

“You piece of (expletive), (expletive),” Hunt posted on Instagram in reference to UFC president Dana White. “Why you (expetive) pull me from the fight? You getting another lawsuit, you (expletive).”

The organization’s response was more carefully worded.

“Following a recent first-person article published by UFC heavyweight Mark Hunt, UFC has taken the precautionary steps of removing Hunt from a previously announced bout in Sydney, Australia,” a statement read. “The health-related statements made by Hunt in the article represent the first time UFC was made aware of these claims. Athlete health and safety is of the utmost importance to the organization and it would never knowingly schedule an athlete complaining of health issues for a fight. The organization will require that Hunt undergo further testing and evaluations prior to competing in any future UFC bout.”

Hunt had indicated in the article he was experiencing some troubling symptoms.

“My body is (expletive) but my mind is still here,” Hunt wrote for Players Voice. “I’ve still got my senses about me and I know what’s right and wrong, which is the main thing.

“Sometimes I don’t sleep well. You can hear me starting to stutter and slur my words. My memory is not that good anymore. I’ll forget something I did yesterday but I can remember the (expletive) I did years and years ago.”

Hunt, 43, now claims he was at least partially kidding and was also misquoted despite the article containing his byline.

The matter is further complicated by the fact he is involved in a lawsuit against the organization earlier this year for the way it managed Brock Lesnar’s drug testing program when he came out of retirement to fight Hunt in July 2016 at UFC 200.

Hunt believes that is the real reason he was pulled from the card, claiming he has been cleared to fight by a doctor.

“I’m disappointed that I have been withdrawn from the fight, I have passed all medicals 2 days ago and spent $100,000 on camp,” he posted on social media. “The truth is the legal case I have filed has caused me to be withdrawn. The interview has been taken out of context and I want to reassure all my fans I slur my words only when I have a drink I’m fit and healthy, and would have understood if the UFC requested a medical to ensure my safety, however this is total (expletive).”

White did not match Hunt’s intensity when he was asked about the situation by TMZ.

“Listen, sometimes you gotta protect these guys from themselves and that’s what we’re looking into right now,” White said. “He made a statement that I’ve hated him forever. I don’t hate Mark Hunt at all. I never hated Mark Hunt. He knows that. I was actually really good with Mark Hunt.”

Tybura will now fight former heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum on the UFC Fight Night 121 card.

Pena pregnant

UFC women’s bantamweight contender Julianna Pena’s pursuit of the title will be put on hold.

The 28-year-old winner of Season 18 of “The Ultimate Fighter” announced her pregnancy on her Instagram page with a pair of pictures and a series of hashtags.

Pena, whose four-fight winning streak was snapped with a submission loss to top contender Valentina Shevchenko in January, posted a sonogram as well as a photo of herself wearing a T-shirt that read “to be continued” to announce her hiatus from fighting.

Her list of hashtags included “new chapter,” “new adventures,” “more to fight for,” and “can’t wait to meet her.”

Taylor accepts sanction

UFC welterweight Jesse Taylor has been suspended one year for a violation of the organization’s anti-doping policy.

Taylor accepted the maximum penalty for testing positive for clomiphene, a performance-enhancing anti-estrogen agent on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s prohibited list.

The 34-year-old Californian returned to the organization this year by winning “The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption” nearly a decade after he was kicked off Season 7 of the show for a drunken incident at Palace Station during filming.

Taylor’s positive test stemmed from an out-of-competition urine sample conducted Aug. 22. He had been scheduled to fight Belal Muhammad on Nov. 19, but was replaced by Tim Means when the adverse finding was announced.

The suspension is retroactive to Sept. 13.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

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