Earlier this month, the UFC announced they will expand their Hall of Fame, including a physical location.
The structure of the Hall of Fame was also revamped, and will now include inductees in four areas: a Modern Era Wing, a Pioneers Era Wing, a Contributors Wing and a Fight Wing.
On UFC Tonight, the latter two categories received their first inductees.
First, Jeff Blatnik, a fixture of early UFC broadcasts as a commentator, was inducted in the Contributors Wing.
Noted for his earlier wrestling career which included a gold medal victory for the US in Greco-Roman at the 1984 Olympic Games, Blatnik also served as commissioner of the UFC in the late 1990’s. He is also credited with contributing to the regulations, which led to the United Rules which govern UFC bouts today.
The term “Mixed Martial Arts” is usually credited to Blatnik as well, who passed away in 2012 after complications from heart surgery.
In the Fight Wing, the second encounter between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg, at UFC 52 in Las Vegas, will be the first bout honored.
It was Hughes’ first defense of the UFC welterweight title after winning the belt for the second time — and, quite possibly, his most memorable.
Hughes recovered from a groin kick (missed by referee Mario Yamasaki) to win the bout via a dramatic comeback, eventually securing a rear naked choke.
Hughes had defeated Trigg by rear naked choke in a 2003 bout, and Trigg had promised he would never be caught again.
Hughes and Trigg continued fighting until 2011.