Shortly after the WME-IMG purchased the UFC for a record setting $4 Billion, a lot of layoffs and changes has been made with their personnel on all levels. A few executives resigned, and dozens more were laid off from various high ranking positions, departments and international UFC offices.
The most recent cuts were 10-15 employees, and this included Chuck Liddell and Matt Hughes, who Dana White considered to be ‘lifers’ and will always have a job with the UFC. Apparently that all changed once WME-IMG got in control of the company, and the two beloved UFC hall-of-famers were part of this reported cost cutting measures that are being made.
White recently addressed the string of layoffs and says it’s “absolutely normal”.
"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,” White said at the UFC Unfiltered Podcast (transcribed by MMA Mania). “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.”
As for the two former champions who received positions with Zuffa after retirement, White says it’s not his money and his decisions anymore.
“The Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes thing, during the ZUFFA era, those were my guys,” he said. “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. The thing with Matt and Chuck, it was a loyalty thing for me. It was my gift to them or being the guys that they were when me, Frank and Lorenzo, when it was our money."
Liddell was the UFC’s Executive Vice President of Business Development, while Hughes was the Vice President of Athlete Development and Government Relations. Liddell held that position for almost 6 years after retiring, while Hughes had his for less than 4.