Matt Hughes is a highly-respected individual within the mixed martial arts (MMA) community. The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight king was one of the best fighters of his time, and has taken on the role of Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations for UFC since retiring from the sport in 2013.
The outspoken trailblazer recently answered some questions for UFC Fight Night 93's Q&A session from Hamburg, Germany, earlier today (Fri., Sept. 2, 2016), which included Hughes' take on a potential fighter's union in MMA.
"I'm not a union fan, bottom line," he said. "I think unions started as a good thing back in the day, but they've turned into a monster. So I just don't see a need for it. Fighters have a choice to fight for any organization they want. They've got a choice of playing baseball, basketball, football, swinging a hammer, being a lawyer, doing anything they want. But they wanted to fight."
Remember, renowned professional baseball agent Jeff Boris recently bashed UFC for "bullying" and "scaring" its fighters. Boris may not be known around the MMA community, but he has handled numerous million-dollar contracts in the past and knows a lot about the legality of forming a union. There was also a Professional Fighters Association (PFA) formed last month in effort to take the first step forward, while popular MMA fighters like Mark Hunt and T.J. Dillashaw have verbally included themselves in the fighter's union movement.
"When I started out, it wasn't for the money," added Hughes. "I fought to compete. So I just don't see the need for a union."
While Hughes makes a valid point in competition-over-compensation, he's most likely in the minority in the year 2016. It's going to be interesting to see if any current UFC fighters stand up and side with the welterweight legend.