Recently more than a few eyebrows were raised when it was reported the UFC has let Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell go, but Dana White says it’s shouldn’t be causing any big stir.
Hughes was the vice president of athlete development and government relations for the UFC, and his fellow legend Liddell was the executive vice president of business development. But, in the latest round of layoffs that the UFC has undergone via the new owners, WME-IMG, both men have been issued their walking papers.
Recently White appeared on the UFC’s “Unfiltered” podcast, and while doing so, the UFC boss man said this about the layoffs (quote via MMA Mania.com):
“When another company takes over another company, it’s absolutely normal for them to come in and especially at the executive level, to let guys go. They have guys that they are going to bring in that will fill those positions. Some of those people that have been let go, they have their own people ready for those positions. It’s their company, they roll in and they put in their people, it’s absolutely normal. A lot of our executives were let go, a company as big as WME-IMG, they have a ton of people for these positions. The Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes thing, during the ZUFFA era, those were my guys. I wanted them to retire, I respected these guys. They helped build this company when I was growing it and I told them both, I said, ‘Unless I drop dead or it comes to a position sometime where I’m not controlling how much money is being spent and all that stuff, you guys will get a paycheck until that day.’ And that day came…”
Now, could White have been upset behind the scenes with the decision? Possibly. But as he noted, the news shouldn’t come as a surprise. In recent weeks several other top executives were also let go. And when you consider that WME-IMG, back by various investors, bought the UFC earlier this year for a reported $4 billion dollars, changes were certain.
The UFC is holding two events this weekend, in Albany, New York and Toronto, Ontario, Friday and Saturday respectively.