New UFC owners lay off Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes

Friday, December 02, 2016

The new UFC owners, WME-IMG, want a return on their four billion dollar investment. One of their first prominent acts was to lay off around 15% of the staff, some 70-80 employees in total, including some of the league’s top executives.

Late in October MMAjunkie’s Steven Marrocco and Ben Fowlkes obtained a 58-page UFC investor document that detailed how they planned to make money. There was a reference to cost cutting “through increased standardization and more rigorous corporate discipline, namely in compensation practices, [travel and expense] policies, long-lived consultants, political contributions, overhead, etc.”

The “long-lived consultants” was believed to refer to several retired fighters including Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, and Big Nog, who enjoy largely ceremonial positions with the company. These were instituted by UFC president Dana White as a means to get fighting legends to stop fighting.

Now Ariel Helwani reports for MMA Fighting that another fifteen employees have been released, including Liddell and Hughes.

“The UFC has been great to me,” said Hughes. “Times change, and I understand the decision that was made. I will move on. My family and I are fine.

“I do love adventure, and who knows what’s next for me.”

Helwani was unable to reach Liddell.