"It's really two announcements....(Hughes new job) and the second thing is the implementation of a written code of conduct for UFC athletes," UFC executive Lawrence Epstein said. "As you think about these two announcements, you have to think about them as one. There's gonna be a huge connection with what Matt does and our new code of conduct. One comment on the code of conduct just to take care of that, it really isn't something that's new, just something that frankly for the first time has been put in writing. We've always felt that our athletes need to live up to a high level of conduct and make sure everything they're doing obviously both inside the Octagon and outside is in compliance with the high standards of the UFC."
Hughes officially announced his retirement, and UFC President Dana White went into detail about the legend's new role.
"Matt Hughes never said no to anything," White said. "Fighting anybody or doing whatever he needed to help build the sport and build the brand. His new role with the UFC, he's no longer the welterweight champion, will be the Vice President of athlete development and government relations."
Epstein explained the new standards further.
"This whole situation really started frankly when we took a look at the sports landscape and looked at what all the other major sports leagues were doing like the NFL, Major League Baseball, NHL, et cetera," Epstein explained. "We also took a look at what some of the associations are doing. I think as many of you know, UFC's relationship with athletes is an independent contractor relationship. It's not like the relationship in the NFL where they're actually employees of the team. We looked at some of those organizations that had similar legal models and what we discovered was those organizations had an individual who was responsible for what they call athlete development and what we're calling athlete development also. The role of that person was first and foremost to be a mentor, to try and provide experience to hopefully keep guys out of trouble and stop guys from making mistakes that could affect both their career and could tarnish the image of mixed martial arts and the UFC."