Hughes Retires, Will Enforce UFC Code of Conduct
The career of one of the greatest UFC champions of all time has officially come to an end on Thursday, January 24th, 2013. UFC President Dana White publicly announced the retirement of Hall of Famer Matt Hughes earlier today at a UFC on FOX 6 press conference at Chicago's United Center.
Upon retirement, however, Hughes will be starting a new career with the UFC as Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations.
White went on to discuss how Hughes' position will coincide with a brand new, official code of conduct for every fighter employed by Zuffa.
Zuffa COO Lawrence Epstein vaguely described the code as one modeled after similar codes from other major sport leagues.
"It really isn't something that's new. It's something that frankly was never put in writing. Our athletes need to live up to high level of conduct and make sure that everything they're doing obviously inside the octagon and outside is applying to the high standards of the UFC. We took a look at the sports landscape, and took a look at what the major sports leagues like the NFL, MLB, NHL, etc., and looked at what some of associations are doing," Epstein continued. "The UFC relationship is that of an independent contractor, it's not a relationship like the NFL where they're employees of the teams. We looked to some of those organizations which have similar legal models. What we discovered is that those organizations had an individual for what they call athlete development."
The primary role of Matt Hughes will be to oversee the implementation of this code. Epstein explained how Hughes will work to "keep guys out of trouble and keep them from making mistakes that could affect both their career and could tarnish image of mixed martial arts and the UFC."
Matt Hughes commented further to say that he is grateful for his new job and will look to use his experience to give back to the UFC in exchange for the glorious career he was blessed with.
The first truly dominant welterweight in UFC history, Matt Hughes' aggressive and powerful wrestling greatly popularized the incorporation of wrestling into MMA when the UFC was in its early stages. Hughes won the welterweight championship from Carlos Newton at UFC 34 and defended it five times before losing it to B.J Penn, a loss he would go on to avenge at UFC 63. He lost the belt again to Georges St. Pierre in November of 2006, and his last match was a KO loss to Josh Koscheck at UFC 135.