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UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes suing train operator over near-fatal crash

Matt Hughes was seriously injured when his vehicle was struck by a train in June, 2017.

UFC Hall of Fame 2015 Induction Ceremony Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former UFC welterweight champion and 2010 UFC Hall of Fame inductee Matt Hughes was seriously injured in a rail accident on June 16th, 2017. At the time of the crash Hughes was operating his truck on a level rail crossing in Montgomery County, IL when a train struck the passenger side of his vehicle.

Hughes was airlifted to a trauma center after the crash where he received treatment for injuries to his head and spinal cord. Six months after suffering these injuries Hughes served as a cageside guest of honor at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi in St. Louis, MO.

According to Steven Marocco of MMA Fighting, Hughes is now suing Norfolk Southern Railway, alleging that the train operator’s employees’ negligence lead to the near-fatal collision. Specifically, Hughes and his lawyers are arguing that the company failed to warn motorists of dangerous conditions at the railway crossing where the crash occurred.

The lawsuit is seeking two payments of $50,000 for Hughes and his wife, along with attorney costs. In the lawsuit Hughes’ attorneys state that their client has lost earnings and earnings capacity as a result of the incident and that his injuries have caused his personality to change and his marriage and relationships with friends and family to be strained.

Norfolk Southern Railway has denied Hughes’ accusations, stating that there were sufficient warnings in place.

Norfolk’s attorney Charles Swartwout told MMA Fighting that Hughes failed to stop his vehicle a safe distance from the crossing and that he did not heed a warning from the “plainly visible” train. Swartbout also accused Hughes of using his cellphone at the time of the crash, as well as failing to yield the right of way to the train.

News of Hughes’ lawsuit comes on the heels of Hughes settling a different lawsuit; with his twin brother Mark. The Hughes brothers had been embroiled in a dispute over a tractor and other properties, which were initially reported as being joint-owned by the pair.

During this conflict Mark Hughes filed a restraining order against his brother, alleging the former fighter had grabbed and screamed at his son (who was operating the disputed over tractor at the time). Mark also accused Hughes of later dousing the tractor in gasoline.

Hughes was also the subject of a restraining order form his wife in December, 2018. In court filings she accused Hughes of choking her. She also accused Hughes of asking for the code to the family’s gun vault and then smashing her head into a shower wall when she refused to give it to him.

Hughes ended his pro MMA career in 2013 after competing in over 50 contests. Hughes won the UFC’s welterweight title with a victory over Carlos Newton in 2001. He held that title until he was defeated by B.J. Penn in 2004. Hughes won the belt back in 2004 with a win over Georges St-Pierre. Hughes’ second title run ended in 2006 via a loss to St-Pierre.

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