UFC president Dana White has fired back at Mark Hunt, disputing the Kiwi UFC star's version of events over his ongoing medical suspension.
Hunt was withdrawn from next month's UFC Sydney card after admitting in a column for Players Voice to not sleeping well, slurring his words and not having a good memory anymore.
In response, Hunt wrote an expletive-ridden Instagram post aimed at the UFC president.
This followed another rift between the fighter and White, after Hunt sued the UFC over a 2016 fight with Brock Lesnar who tested positive for PEDs.
Hunt insisted he was evaluated and cleared by a Sydney neurosurgeon and psychologist to fight in Sydney but Dana White disputes his claims.
In a written letter to The Daily Telegraph, White says his organisation never cleared Hunt to fight on the Sydney card and claimed the heavyweight fighter refused evaluation by America's top brain researchers.
"Mark Hunt was never "cleared" to fight Marcin Tybura in Sydney, Australia this November. Period. And the statements he's been making, saying that he is, are just not true," White said.
"Mark Hunt recently wrote an op-ed piece for an Australian website that described some serious symptoms.
"My team contacted his management within the first week of learning about these symptoms and offered to fly him to Las Vegas first class to visit the Lou Ruvo Brain Center - which is the best in the world for brain research - to get more tests done. And you know what? He absolutely refused."
White said despite already having signed contracts and spent a lot on marketing and advertising, he thought pulling Hunt from the card "was the right thing to do".
"How can I put a guy with these symptoms he said he's experiencing immediately back in the Octagon without additional tests? I definitely wasn't going to do that.
"So I did the only thing I could do - which is to pull him off an event that would have him fighting just nine weeks after writing his piece so he can have the proper time to see a specialist."
The UFC boss also denied claims that he had it out for Hunt, pointing to the fact that the fighter had fought twice since and had earned over $2 million.
"Would I have placed him in two additional fights, including one in which he headlined the event?
"Or paid him 1.645 million dollars, which includes a $50k Fight of the Night bonus and a $25k discretionary bonus?
"All of this was AFTER the lawsuit, so how can anyone say I have any issues with this guy?"
"Bottom line, my job is to put on the best fights in the world and part of that is to protect these guys from themselves. I get it, they're fighters and they want to fight. But this only works if safety comes first, and that's always been my goal."