Jeff Blatnick will be inducted into Contributor wing of UFC Hall of Fame; Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg into Fight wing

The next class of the UFC Hall of Fame will be inducted during International Fight Week in July and two of the inductees were announced on today’s episode of UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1.UFC logo

Jeff Blatnick will go into the Contributor wing and the April 2005 fight between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg will be inducted into the Fight wing.

“Jeff Blatnick is a name that newer fans may not be familiar with, but this guy was a huge part on the UFC’s development in the 1990s,” UFC President Dana White said in a press release. “He pushed for greater regulation, unified rules and – because he was an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling – he had credibility with everyone in the sport. It is our honor to recognize his huge contributions to the UFC by inducting him into the UFC Hall of Fame.”

For the fans who may not know the story of Blatnick, here is a bio of his involvement in the sport from today’s UFC press release.

Blatnick’s story is an incredible one. In 1982 he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma – a form of cancer – and had to undergo life-saving surgery and chemotherapy. Astonishingly, he won the super-heavyweight Greco-Roman wrestling gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympics in Los Angeles less than two years later. He became a national hero and inspiration for cancer patients worldwide.

A decade later, Blatnick caught an early UFC event. He immediately recognized the sport behind the spectacle and joined the organization as lead color commentator from UFC 4 (December 1994) through to UFC 34 (November 2001). In those seven years at Octagonside, Blatnick educated a generation of fight fans on the finer points of grappling and sportsmanship. But, perhaps more importantly, as the Commissioner of the UFC (1998 to 2001) Blatnick is widely credited with coining the term “mixed martial arts” and championing its use to describe the emerging sport.

As Commissioner, Blatnick served as a key member of the group who drew up what would become the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts – the framework for all regulated MMA around the world to this day. In his later years, the New York born Blatnick served as an MMA judge for many different state commissions; in fact Blatnick’s final contribution to the UFC came as a ringside judge at the UFC 152 event, just weeks before he passed away in October 2012.

Jeff’s widow Lori Blatnick will accept her late husband’s UFC Hall of Fame induction on his behalf in July and she knows her Jeff would have been honored to be places into the UFC Hall of Fame.

“Jeff would have been so honored to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame,” Lori said. “It’s awesome, and it is right that he is recognized. He worked so hard to improve the sport and keep it alive in the 1990s. People in the industry, or have been around the UFC for years, they know what Jeff did behind the scenes but the viewers who watch the fights today probably haven’t heard of him. That’s probably because of Jeff’s character, he was very humble and didn’t like to talk about himself. But it is great he will now be recognized in such a huge way.”

The UFC Hall of Fame recently went through a makeover and the current Hall of Fame members by wings are below.

Modern Era:
Forrest Griffin (inducted 2013)

Royce Gracie (inducted 2003)
Ken Shamrock (inducted 2003)
Dan Severn (inducted 2005)
Randy Couture (inducted 2006)
Mark Coleman (inducted 2008)
Chuck Liddell (inducted 2009)
Matt Hughes (inducted 2010)
Tito Ortiz (inducted 2012)
Pat Miletich (inducted 2014)

Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar I, April 2005 (inducted 2014)

Charles “Mask” Lewis (inducted 2009)