The first inductees into the newly-revamped UFC Hall of Fame have been announced. On Wednesday, it was announced former UFC commentator Jeff Blatnick will enter the “Contributors” wing, while the rematch between former welterweight champion Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg makes its way into the “Fight” wing.
Earlier this month, the UFC decided to change their Hall of Fame structure to include Modern era, Pioneers era, Contributors and Fight wings instead of just fighters (and one contributor).
Blatnick served as a commentator from UFC 4 to UFC 32. The MMA pioneer helped develop the rules and judging criteria of mixed martial arts during its early years.
He passed away in 2012.
“Jeff Blatnick is a name that newer fans may not be familiar with, but this guy was a huge part on the UFC’s development in the 1990s,” said UFC president Dana White. “He pushed for greater regulation, unified rules and – because he was an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling – he had credibility with everyone in the sport. It is our honor to recognize his huge contributions to the UFC by inducting him into the UFC Hall of Fame.”
Hughes, who was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2009 on his own merit, becomes the first two-category honoree. His instant classic rematch with Trigg at UFC 52 last just under four minutes, but provided back-and-forth, edge-of-your seat action.
Trigg appeared to catch Hughes low with a strike, but the referee missed it. He slapped on a rear-naked choke, though Hughes muscled his way out. Hughes proceeded to pick Trigg up, walk across the cage towards his corner for instructions and slammed him to the canvas.
Hughes then managed to slap on a RNC of his own to retain his welterweight title.
“I’ve said it a million times over the last 10 years, Hughes vs Trigg II is one of my favorite fights ever. In four minutes five seconds, it showed everything that is great about the UFC,” White said.
The 2015 UFC Hall of Fame class will be inducted July 11 during the UFC Fan Expo in Las Vegas.