The latest addition to the UFC Hall of Fame is the promotion’s first welterweight champion, Pat Miletich.
Miletich was inducted by UFC president Dana White during the UFC Fan Expo on Sunday in Las Vegas.
“He is one of the guys that helped build the foundation of mixed martial arts,” said White, as he ushered Miletich onto the stage at the Mandalay Bay Event Center.
Considered one of the true pioneers of mixed martial arts, Miletich began fighting in 1995, amassing a record of 17-1-1 before debuting in the Octagon at UFC 16 in 1996, where he won two bouts in one night. He would go on to win the UFC’s first 170-pound title by besting Mikey Burnett, who was a member of Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den.
Shamrock and Miletich were two of the first fighters in the U.S. to organize a strong team training concept and focus on integrating different disciplines, shedding the UFC’s original idea of style vs. style.
Miletich Fighting Systems fighters were often up against Lion’s Den competitors during those early years.
“I’m very humbled by the way Dana has handled this whole thing. A lot of people remember, who’ve been around for a lot of years, that this sport had one foot in the grave and another on a banana peel,” said Miletich. “We were in trouble. Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta and Dana White saved this sport. None of us would be here if it hadn’t been for you guys. We need to thank the Gracie family also, because they were the ones that brought this sport back.”
During his own UFC tenure, Miletich defended his belt four times before eventually losing it to Carlos Newton. He was 8-2 during his UFC bouts and finished his career at 29-7-2.
Miletich on July 6 joined the likes of Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, Dan Severn, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Mark Coleman, Chuck Liddell, Charles “Mask” Lewis, Matt Hughes, Forrest Griffin, and Stephan Bonnar in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Of late, Miletich has moved into the broadcasting booth, and currently performs in that capacity for AXS TV.
“I’ve led a very blessed life,” he added. “I’m very grateful, very honored to be here.”