“So we continue to fight and the choke was in place as an afterthought,” he said. “The choke was never in. My elbow was in the wrong position, and even though I had it locked up, it really wasn’t in. At that point I’m still in disbelief that the fight’s not already over. I should be celebrating at this point, and now I’m still in a fight.”
Seconds later, Hughes broke free, and as the crowd erupted, one of the great sequences in MMA history took place, as Hughes picked Trigg up and marched him across the Octagon before slamming him. If the crowd was loud before, now they produced a deafening roar.
“There’s only one clip that I enjoy watching,” Hughes said. “When I pick Frank up and run him across the Octagon. Before that moment, my corner would have thought that I was out, that they were going to come into the Octagon and I wasn’t going to get my hand raised. I’ve been that cornerman, so I knew exactly what was going through their mind. And I’m a Christian, so I don’t like to use a lot of terms, but I like to use the word resurrection because I was out, done, and should have been the loser that night. But I picked him up and ran across the ring, and I love watching my four cornermen jump out of their seat. If I was the cornerman, I would have been so excited that one of my brothers is back in the game. That’s the only clip I care to watch of all my fights and I don’t even watch me. I watch my four cornermen. That gets me excited.”
Once Hughes got Trigg on the mat, it was game over, as he worked some ground strikes, opened a cut and then sunk in a rear naked choke that produced a tap at the 4:05 mark of the first round. To this day, you can get chills watching the fight, even though you know the ending, so it was no surprise when it was the first bout put into the Fight wing of the UFC Hall of Fame. Well, maybe it was a surprise to Trigg.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Trigg said. “It was really out of the blue. So when I got the call, I actually had to ask them to repeat themselves a couple different times. I wasn’t analyzing what they were actually saying.”
What they were saying was that Trigg and Hughes had produced a moment in time that deserves to be commemorated with a spot in the Hall of Fame. And though Trigg was on the losing end of the fight, just having his place with the greats of the UFC is enough to soothe that defeat.
“It is a weird thing,” he said. “When I fought in Shooto, my first loss ever in MMA was to Hayato Sakurai, and for Shooto it was voted the best fight of the year. In junior college I was undefeated going all the way into the national tournament finals and I lose in the finals 4-2 and I get Sportsmanship of the Year, which is like the best number two guy in the country. And this is my third time getting an accolade for losing something. And I always dreamed of being in the UFC Hall of Fame and I never thought it would ever happen, so I kind of let it go. And yes, it’s a fight that I lost, but it’s the UFC Hall of Fame. Every time they announce me as a referee, they have to say UFC Hall of Famer Frank Trigg. It’s on my stunt resume, my acting resume, it’s almost like being knighted in the MMA community.”
As for Hughes, already inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2010, it’s something to remind him of a special time in the history of the sport.
“You look back on it and you’re just glad you’re a part of that time period,” he said.
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