Matt Hughes: Farm hand, family man, devout Christian, mixed martial artist. Can he now add talented author to this list? The answer, unfortunately, yet not particularly surprisingly is a resounding no. Including the fact that the book is also by Michael Malice, then it really is shocking that they’ve managed to hire a reasonably competent author to help (i.e. ghost) write such a mixed up, uninteresting, somewhat monotonous life history.
It covers everything you would expect from such a book, his early life growing up, which mostly involves him and his twin brother bullying and beating people up, including one example, rather shockingly I thought, their own sister. The ‘boys’ wind her up, she tries to get them to leave, which results in a swift body punch which leaves her down and winded. Matt then endorses (rather than defends) this by saying that nobody pushes him out of his own home. This pretty much sets the scene for the rest of the book. Two deeply unpleasant men force their way onto everyone else. They drink, sleep around, and fight people. A particularly distasteful anecdote involves Matt and Mark, cornering one of their ‘friends’ in their farm, before bombarding him with pig shit and dead swine foetuses. Hilarious I’m sure. They go swimming and one of their friends gets in trouble. Matt tries to help, gets in trouble himself, recovers, but his friend dies. This is alright in the end though as Mark makes Matt see just how selfish and stupid he was to try and help. If this doesn’t sound like the caring, Christian image he tries to portray, this is because he didn’t find god until pretty recently. And even when he does, he then comes off as a hypocritical, scientology-esque nut case, instantly trying to tell his family that because he has now had a revelation, they should all follow.
I read this book though primarily as a fan of the ufc, and as he was the most dominant champion in the history of the ufc (according to the book) surely the chapters relating to this would be better? Yes they were. Slightly. He mentions his wrestling days, how Pat Miletich got him into the UFC and in his camp, his feuds with Hallman, Trigg, BJ, GSP etc. It’s just a shame that it is in so little detail. Seriously, I’ve done crosswords that had more depth than this book. And it’s mixed up too. It’s as if they told him after the first draft there wasn’t enough UFC related writing in it, so they went back and randomly inserted passages to do with Tim Sylvia, who Matt bullies relentlessly for no apparent reason, Brock Lesnar, who Matt disrespects for no apparent reason, Randy Couture who Matt doesn’t speak with, yet doesn’t explain anything else. These random passages don’t seem to fit in with anything else or relate to other things happening in the book.
If anybody can remember a few years back, the WWE wrestler Mick Foley released his autobiography. It was a surprise No. 1 best seller, but this was due to the fact it was well written, brutally honest, interesting and entertaining. The WWE jumped on this idea and quickly released a number of inferior follow ups by other superstars to cash in. Made in America has an unnerving feel of being one of these ‘follow’ up books. Covers everything it needs to, but only just.
Despite this however, there aren’t too many MMA biographies out there, and therefore, by default, this one is still, only just, worth reading. Especially if you can find it in a sale or a library.