UFC legend Matt Hughes airlifted to hospital after truck collides with train

Kevin Iole
Combat columnist
Ex-UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes was involved in an accident on Friday and airlifted to a hospital, where he was stabilized. (AP)

Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes was involved in an auto accident and was airlifted to a hospital on Friday, according to the hospital’s statement.

He was taken to HSHS St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Illinois at around noon. The hospital said he was stable and still recovering but that “Hughes’ family asks that you respect their privacy during this difficult time. They ask that you keep Matt in your thoughts and prayers,” the statement said on the hospital’s Facebook page.

Just before 11 a.m. PT, UFC President Dana White posted a photo of Hughes on Instagram in which he wrote he was praying for “Matt and Audra.” Audra is the UFC Hall of Famer’s wife.

White could not be reached for comment by Yahoo Sports, but he spoke to ESPN and said he was in a truck that collided with a train. White had few other details and did not know where or how the accident occurred.

“Apparently he has head trauma. His family is traveling to him now.”

According to a report in the Illinois State Journal-Register, the accident happened on Beelers Trail in Montgomery County, Ill., which is southwest of Raymond, Ill.

The report said the accident occurred at 10:45 a.m. CT. The train struck the passenger side of the truck Hughes was in.

Hughes, 43, is among the greatest fighters in UFC history and is a member of its Hall of Fame. He compiled a 45-10 record with 35 finishes in a remarkable career that began in 1998 and culminated with a 2011 loss to Josh Koscheck.

Until recently, Hughes had been working as a UFC vice president, but had been mulling an MMA comeback.

He was 9-3 in UFC welterweight title fights and his bout with Frank Trigg at UFC 52 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas is considered among the best in the promotion’s history.