The gym of UFC hall of famer Matt Hughes is now under new ownership, as St. Louis-based trainer and fighter Jesse Finney (Pictured) has purchased the facility. The H.I.T. Squad facility — now known as Finney’s H.I.T. Squad — is based out of Granite City, Ill. The gym was founded by Hughes when he left Miletich Fighting Systems in 2007.
“We are very excited about working with Matt Hughes, Mark Fiore and Kyle Watson. The H.I.T. Squad is already considered one of the top MMA gyms in the world,” Finney said in a release. “Our goal is to make it the top MMA gym. We have already begun making improvements to both training facilities, improvements that will ultimately generate bigger and better opportunities for our fighters as we evolve.”
Finney’s H.I.T. Squad now sports a full-sized practice cage. According to the release, the gym has also begun using the Shamrock Fighter Development System, a means of bringing along local fighters by gradually increasing a fighter’s level of competition. Hughes will reportedly stay on at the facility to train, as will the rest of the training staff.
“I fully support the change in ownership and look forward to working with Finney and his team. This is a positive change that will generate new opportunities for the gym and make the H.I.T Squad brand even stronger,” said Fiore. “The new build-out has added value to the facility, and our stable of fighters has already increased from 40 to 80. We are all very excited about the direction the gym is going.”
A two-time veteran of Strikeforce competition, Finney also owns Finney’s MMA, his first gym based out of St. Louis. The welterweight began his pro career in 2007, rattling off six straight victories before suffering the first and only defeat of his career to UFC veteran Josh Neer in August.
by Mike Whitman