UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes recently appeared on BJ Penn Radio and discussed his three-month-old role as UFC Vice President of Athletic Development and Government Relations.
Last year Sports Illustrated reported that 78% of NFL players are bankrupt two years after retirement. And that figure is undoubtedly dwarfed by the numbers from the top ranks of boxing, where for generations the biggest names in the sport's history die penniless.
The few figures who end up successful like Henry Cooper, George Foreman, and Oscar De La Hoya are the exceptions that prove the rule. Part of Hughes job is an attempt to correct that.
“Athletic Development is very new to the UFC,” said Hughes. “It could deal from everything from life before the UFC, life after the UFC, life during the UFC.”
“Making someone a better athlete all the way to financial development, helping guys figure out what they’re going to do with their money they make in the UFC,” said Hughes.
Hughes feels the other half of his role, government relations, is the easy part.
“Government Relations is very easy, I’ve been doing that for years,” stated Hughes. “I just try to talk positive, and answer any questions somebody had about the safety or the sport at all.”
One aspect of government relations that has proven challenging is legalizing MMA in New York, but Hughes says it is just a matter of time.
“Definitely in three years," said Hughes confidently. "Next two years I’d say 50-50, this year I’d say 75% against it. But it will happen, there’s no doubt about it.”
“UFC is always working on getting, if not legal, better rules in states for the fighters in the UFC.”
Saturday night at UFC 159 two fights were forced to go to the judges score cards early due to eye pokes, causing some to call for a redesign of the MMA glove. Hughes, said it is not the glove, it the man attached to the fingers that is responsible.
“I don’t see how you can blame it on the gloves,” said Hughes. “It comes down to the fighters making mistakes with their hands.”
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