Story by Anthony Springer Jr.
After months of speculation, UFC officially announced the retirement of Matt Hughes as the fighter and welcomed Matt Hughes the executive. Hughes was named the Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations today at the UFC on Fox 7 press conference.
“I love this sport and the new position is the best way for me to stay in it,” Hughes said.
Hughes’ new position also comes with the arrival of the organization’s new code of conduct for its fighters. While the details weren’t released, the move brings the UFC in line with the other major sports leagues such as the NBA, NFL, and MLB. UFC fighters, unlike the athletes in the other leagues, are independent contractors.
“This isn’t something that’s new,” UFC COO Lawrence Epstein said. “We always felt our athletes need to live up to a high code of conduct and make sure everything they do in and out of the Octagon is up to a high standard.”
The former welterweight champion will be tasked with mentoring other fighters under the new code. According to Epstein, Hughes was the obvious choice.
“We took a look at our roster and those that have built the sport. We looked at the record. Matt Hughes’ record, not as a fighter is second to none. He’s always held himself to the highest ethical standard.”
Hughes’ task is a mountainous one as the current UFC roster includes nearly 400 fighters.
“He knows what it takes to go from being a virtually unknown person to being famous,” Epstein concluded. He’s going to be providing that perspective to our athletes.”
Hughes had 54 professional fights and retires with a record of 45-9. He defended the welterweight championship seven times, tying for most all-time with current champion Georges St-Pierre.
. . . .
Coming up next: UFC on FOX: Johnson vs. Dodson is live from the United Center in Chicago on Saturday, January 26 at 8 PM ET / 5 PM PT. Click here for more info