In 2007, when the UFC acquired its former rival PRIDE, Mark Hunt was offered $300,000 to retire. The UFC was not interested in finishing his contract up, and was willing to pay him to simply go away.
Hunt flat-out turned the offer down. He wanted to fight.
A hair under a decade later, and that decision is paying off for him in a huge way.
Following his recent win over Frank Mir, "The Super Samoan" has inked a new six fight contract, a deal that will reportedly net him "millions." His new contract also makes him one of the highest-paid athletes in his come country of New Zealand.
The six-fight agreement covers Hunt for 30 months, which would undoubtedly be a huge relief for him from where he was a year ago. Just last May he suffered back-to-back losses that could have brought his career to a premature end. But the heavyweight fought back — literally — making it a no-brainer for UFC president Dana White to usher Hunt into a lucrative deal.
While his new contract will net the Samoan millions, Hunt told Stuff.co.nz, that, to him, it's not about the Benjamins:
"It's not about the money. Of course I had to get paid for my work but I want that title.
"Dana gave me a message and we talked about it. There were some back and forth negotiations."
Ranked #8 in the division, it's going to take another couple of big wins before he gets the shot he wants at the title. He isn't that far off though, with Hunt coming off back-to-back knockout victories over big names like Antonio Silva and Frank Mir.
Hunt feels that the number of fights he's signed on to take part in should do the job:
"I think I still deserve a title shot and in the end I thought six fights should do it. I'm glad to finish my career at the top end with the UFC. I want to bring the gold down under."
The proud New Zealander knows what this will also do for the sport in his homeland.
"It's great news especially for the local fighters, men and women, in New Zealand and Australia. It shows them they can achieve these goals. I've been doing it for years and they can too. They just need to surround themselves with the right management team and if they're good enough they can get these multi-million dollar deals and have a good life."