Mark Hunt‘s short national nightmare apparently is over.
The heavyweight, slated for the co-main event this Saturday at UFC 160 in Las Vegas, had been stuck in Australia due to a visa issue, threatening his trip to the States to compete in what amounts to the biggest fight of his MMA career.
But on Sunday, Hunt posted on his Twitter account that he has obtained his visa, clearing the way for him to head to the other side of the world for Saturday’s fight. Hunt also this past Friday received his license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the bout.
Hunt (9-7 MMA, 4-1 UFC) will fight former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos (15-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in what is expected to be a title eliminator, with the winner very likely moving on to meet the winner of the night’s main event current champ Cain Velasquez and top contender Antonio Silva.
The UFC 160 main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
With Hunt still stuck in Australia this past week, he participated in a conference call with media members and said he was hopeful the situation would be sorted out. And UFC officials said a team was working on the problem and was confident Hunt would be in the United States by week’s end.
That timetable won’t quite prove to be accurate, but at the very least Hunt should be in Las Vegas by the UFC’s standard fight week time table, which typically has fighters arriving on Tuesday for a Saturday event.
That may not be exactly ideal for Hunt, who has said that a previous fight in Las Vegas that had him in town just four days ahead of the fight had him feeling sluggish.
“I’m just running out of time to get over there and acclimatize,” Hunt said on this past Tuesday’s media call.
Hunt said the problem leading to his visa issue arose from “a stupid misunderstanding” and “something that happened a long time ago,” apparently a past legal issue that was holding up the process.
But with the visa hurdle cleared, the former PRIDE fighter and standout kickboxer now is set for his fight with Dos Santos – with the knowledge that UFC President Dana White has said a dominant performance could earn Hunt a shot at the belt. The New Zealand native, who now lives in Australia, has won four straight, including a “Knockout of the Night” win over Stefan Struve in March.
Hunt stepped in for Alistair Overeem, who was scheduled to fight Dos Santos, but pulled out with an injury.
For the latest on UFC 160, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.