Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) hall-of-famers Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes were coaxed into retirement with cushy, front-office jobs that paid more in one month than most fighters make in one year.
Sounds outrageous, but then again, maybe there wouldn’t be a place for these young bucks to compete if not for the trail blazed by “The Iceman” and “Country Breakfast” (among others).
Unfortunately for the wealthy ex-champs, the promotion downsized after being acquired by WME | IMG last summer, and not even their longstanding bromance with promotion president Dana White could keep them on the payroll.
So then why did former UFC light heavyweight kingpin and The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 champ Forrest Griffin get to stay when Liddell and Hughes had to go? Just ask prescient podcaster Chael Sonnen.
“In fairness, if I’m buying a company I’m gonna look and see where the waste is. If I’m letting Marshall Zelaznik go, I’m letting these two knuckleheads who are on $30K a month, but don’t even live in the state go. Do you know why [Forrest Griffin] kept his job? He was the only one of the three who took his job seriously. What was supposed to happen, from a UFC standpoint, they looked after some of their boys who looked after them. The UFC was getting some bad PR for not looking after their fighters, and they also wanted to give the guys who did carry lifting early on some jobs that last forever. Chuck got the first one, and it’s $30K a month, and he doesn’t have to do anything. This is before the police ran him out of San Luis Obispo, so he wasn’t even in the state. Matt Hughes still isn’t in the state, he lives on the farm in Illinois. These are literally fake jobs. They give a job to Forrest, and he takes one look at it and decides to take the job seriously. He shows up at 9:00 am on Monday morning and they don’t even have an office for him because it wasn’t a real job. He just kept coming in, and then he started sitting in on meetings. If anyone was gonna keep the job it’s Forrest because he has contributed.”
This retired fighter might want to take note.
Liddell served as UFC Vice President of Business Development, while Hughes was named UFC Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations (more on that here).
Now they’ll be known simply as “retired.”