(GUARDIAN) - Former two-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion Matt Hughes was airlifted to a medical facility on Friday after the truck he was driving collided with a moving train around 112km north-east of St Louis, an Illinois state police spokesman told the Guardian.
Hughes, 43, was travelling in a pickup truck eastbound on Beelers Trail in Illinois' Montgomery County approaching a railroad grade crossing marked with crossbuck signs when he crossed the tracks directly in front of an oncoming train and was struck on the passenger side, officers said.
Police said Hughes was "seriously injured" and transported to a Springfield hospital by an Arch Air Medical Services helicopter ambulance.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN that he's been in contact with Hughes' family, who are travelling to the facility where the Illinois native was taken.
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"Apparently he has head trauma," White told the network. "His family is travelling to him now."
The Illinois state police's traffic reconstruction unit was still investigating the crash on Friday afternoon.
Officials said no further information was available.
Hughes had two stints as the organisation's welterweight champion from 2001 through 2006, during which time he was considered among the best pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA).
He was inducted to the UFC's Hall of Fame in 2010 and formally retired from competition three years later, though he was reportedly mulling a comeback as recently as this year.