UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes continues to make incremental progress in his recovery from an accident that occurred last month.
“Matt is off the ventilator and showing some small signs of improvement,” Hughes’ sister, Beth Hughes Ulrici, wrote on Facebook. “There are some stories and comments out there that are exaggerated. Please don't believe everything you hear or read. This is going to be a long journey for his recovery.
“Please continue to keep Matt in your prayers. He is strong, he has heart and he will not give up! We are faithful in the fact that he will recover with God's Grace and Mercy! We as a family ask everyone to keep praying for Matt!”
In a statement issued last month, Ulrici revealed that Hughes’ condition was improving. The family also previously announced that it would be working with the Triumph Over Tragedy Foundation, a nonprofit organization that serves families affected by spinal cord and brain injuries, to determine the next steps in Hughes’ care.
Hughes was airlifted to HSHS St. John’s Hospital after a truck he was driving was hit by a train while crossing the tracks in Raymond, Ill on June 16. According to Illinois State Police, Hughes drove the vehicle directly across the tracks “directly in front of the train” and the collision occurred on the passenger side of the vehicle.
“Please understand that Matt was the only public figure in our family. The rest of us are just regular everyday small town folks,” Ulrici wrote. “We have never had to deal with the media and all the added stress that comes with it. We are all very private people and we are doing our best to keep you all informed; but our focus right now is Matt and his recovery. No news is good news!”
Hughes is recognized as one of the greatest welterweights in mixed martial arts history. The two-time UFC 170-pound champion retired after a loss to Josh Koscheck in 2011. He was later hired as vice president of athlete development and government relations by the promotion but was let go this past December after the UFC was purchased by new owners WME-IMG. The Hillsboro, Ill., native is 45-9 over the course of a pro career that began in 1998 and owns victories over the likes of Carlos Newton, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, Georges St. Pierre, Royce Gracie and B.J. Penn.