Last week, heavyweight Mark Hunt (pictured) went to the airport planning to board a plane destined for Las Vegas, Nevada so he could have ample time to adjust to the time zone changes and climate before he fights former champ Junior dos Santos at UFC 160.
Fast forward eight days – 11 days prior to showtime – and Hunt is still in his native New Zealand because of visa issues. Despite the roadblock that could prove insurmountable, the UFC remains unfazed with getting “The Super Samoan” on U.S. soil well before the curtain is drawn on May 25.
“As you know, Mark has experienced a visa issue that we are working through at the moment,” UFC director of communications Dave Sholler said during Tuesday’s conference call. “To put anything to rest, we are confident that the issue will be resolved, and we anticipate Mark competing in the co-main event of UFC 160.
“Our team is working through that issue and we anticipate Mark making his way to the U.S. this weekend.”
While Sholler is confident his squad will pull through like they have so many times in the past, Hunt remains skeptical things will work out as smoothly.
“I’m running out of time just to get over there to acclimatize,” Hunt expressed. “I flew to Vegas once before and I went out there four days out of a fight and that was quite tiring because I was there at six in the morning American time and everyone else was waking up. So it was a little bit of a problem.”
Hunt remains vague as to why he’s having complications with his visa, but it appears to be linked to a 2002 arrest when two of his friends were involved in a fight.
Sholler said the UFC has not even considered what Plan B will be if Hunt is denied entry into America. He is positive they will clear things up.
MGM Grand in Las Vegas hosts UFC 160. As of now, dos Santos and Hunt still serve as the card’s co-main event.