UFC Confident Mark Hunt Will Still Fight at UFC 160 Despite Visa Issues

Damon MartinContributor IMay 14, 2013

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 27:  Chris Tuchscherer of the United States is punched by Mark Hunt of Australia during their heavyweight bout as part of UFC 127 at Acer Arena on February 27, 2011 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

UFC 160 co-main event fighter Mark Hunt still remains in his home country of New Zealand waiting for his visa issues to get sorted out so he can travel to the United States.

Hunt was stopped at the airport last week and held up after U.S. officials discovered a 2002 arrest on his record, and while no charges were ever filed, it delayed his travel to Las Vegas for his upcoming bout against Junior Dos Santos.

On Tuesday, UFC officials updated the situation during a media conference call and stated that they are more than confident Hunt's travel problems will be resolved by this weekend, allowing him to catch a plane to the United States.

"Mark has experienced a visa issue that we are working through at the moment," said Dave Sholler, UFC Director of Communications.  "To put anything to rest, we are confident the issue will be resolved and we anticipate Mark competing in the co-main event for UFC 160. Our team is working through that issue and we anticipate Mark making his way to the United States this weekend."

While Hunt has responded to fans via his Twitter account numerous times in the last week with a little bit of detail about the arrest that caused the delay in his travel schedule, he avoided bringing up too much about the situation on Tuesday.

Hunt's focus right now is just putting it all behind him so he can travel to the United States and focus on facing Dos Santos next weekend.

"It's just some stupid misunderstanding, that's all it is," Hunt stated.  "I don't know really what it is, it's just something that happened a long time ago.  It should be cleared up so I can fly out of here this week sometime, tomorrow, tonight, whenever hopefully."

During the past week, Hunt has personally dealt with the ongoing issue to receive his visa to travel to the United States, but has time and again run into obstacles blocking his path.  Most recently it was an encounter on Monday that once again pushed back his potential flight to Las Vegas.

"The only thing I got from the U.S. consulate was 'we'll call you' and he said specifically he had instructions not to give me a visa yesterday," Hunt stated.  "It's hard to talk to a brick wall.  He was like that.  It was a no and he just said that's it and we'll call you. That's all the information I got."

"I'm running out of time to get over there to get acclimatized.  Hopefully soon—tomorrow or tonight, one of those two."

UFC 160 takes place on May 25, which puts the fight just 11 days away, but the promotion is not taking any steps at this time to secure a potential replacement in the event Hunt is unable to get clearance to travel. 

"We're working towards keeping this original fight that was scheduled and everybody's excited about in tact," Sholler said.  "Our team is continuing to work with all the necessary officials to get this visa issue sorted out.  As far as Plan B's or anything like that, we haven't gotten to that point because we do remain confident we're going to get this issue resolved."

All Hunt can do right now is train at home and hope that good news comes across his table very soon so he can put all of this behind him and focus solely on the fight.  It's been a painstaking process, but Hunt is trying to keep a positive attitude through it all.

"I had to just keep training and do a lot of different stuff here.  At the end of the day, I've still got to get out of here and get to the battle with Junior.  It's just frustrating, but what can you do?" Hunt said.  "I can' t do anything about it anymore.  It's out of my hands.  I leave it in God's hands and see whatever happens, happens."

Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.