Fighting Championship's 'paper champion' and USU alum
encourages students to train in multiple disciplines
By Nathan Laursen
April 3, 2009 | Students should make
use of the tools and resources at Utah State and mimic
the multidisciplinary training of mixed martial artists
as a plan for success, said alumnus Eric Hone last Friday
as the invited speaker for the Alumni Speaker Series
for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.
Hone, who graduated in 1994 with
a degree in political science, is now a practicing attorney
and co-chairs the sports and entertainment law division
for law firm Lewis and Roca in Las Vegas. Hone, who
specifically represents the mixed martial art organization
the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), said, "There
are similarities to the world of mixed martial arts
and Utah State, and you have the opportunity as students
at Utah State to get multidisciplinary training."
Mixed martial arts is based on an
ancient greek olympic sport, said Hone, and in order
to excel athletes must train in a variety of disciplines.
Hone entitled his speech, "From the Quad to the Octagon,"
and said students at USU must have a multidisciplinary
training in order to be successful in their lives. Along
with academics, Hone said students should seek training
in the categories of confidence, life balance, loyalty,
integrity, social life, and hard work.
"There are things you can do
to make sure you are well-rounded," Hone said.
Hone gave examples of the role these
disciplines have played in his own life as well as the
lives of those that he has observed during his career.
Hone told the story of the rise of the UFC and how it
overcame public disregard and a reputation of being
brutish. He pointed out that despite popular condemnations
from leaders like Senator John McCain, who referred
to the sport as "human cockfighting," two casino-owning
brothers were willing to take a gamble. Hone said the
risks and hard work of the Fertitta Brothers reconstructed
the sport and got it sanctioned and increased its popularity.
As the UFC became more popular, Hone
said many upstart promoters started to try and make
money off of mixed martial arts. Hone became involved
in legal attempts to stop a company known as the International
Fight League (IFL) from using materials and information
taken by a former UFC employee. After a week of late
nights, hard work, and dedication Hone and the UFC were
granted the motion by the judge. On the way back to
the office that day, Hone said UFC President Dana White
said Hone was "the new champion" and gave Hone a UFC
Hone, who grew up on fruit farm in
Brigham City, said hard work is one of the disciplines
students at USU should value and develop. Hone said
that hard work can make up for intellectual inabilities.
"Write your paper. Put it down,
and then look at it and do it again," Hone said. "Make
sure you put forth all your effort if you are going
Hone said students should pick their
courses wisely and not take the easy route. "Take courses
that are tough," Hone said. "No one became an MMA star
by only practicing against weak opponents, or by not
taking their training seriously." He said students should
study different areas and have two majors or at least
Hone encouraged students to "make
the most of the best resource" they have at Utah State,
and that it wasn't books or lectures but the time spent
with professors. He said students should seek their
professors out instead of just going to their lectures
and doing the assignments they give.
"One of the things that is
great about Utah State, and one of the things that I
value most from my time here," said Hone, "is the fact
that there is an extremely highly qualified faculty
and staff here that has come not just from all over
the United States, but from all over the world."
Hone said the professors are one
of the most valuable assets that students have and they
should make more of them than they actually do. He said
getting referrals from professors was important but
the greatest value was the confidence that could be
generated by getting their feedback and opinion.
Hone, who went to Duke University
for law school, said his education there was not better
or worse than USU, but different. He said the summer
before he went to Duke was wasted worrying and being
nervous that he wasn't prepared enough to be a competitive
"Utah State more than adequately
prepares you for going to any college or graduate program,"
Hone said. "There are some very bright students here
at USU for you to compete and interact with. Just because
you are not at Harvard or some other school doesn't
mean you aren't a good student or that you are not going
to exceed in life."
Hone said the campus life at USU
is an "incredible opportunity" to develop a social network
of diverse students from different backgrounds and opinions
that students can use in their professional life. Hone
said balance in life is important and Cache Valley provides
not only a great university but a great opportunity
to develop recreation habits. He said developing an
addiction to snowboarding or golfing while obtaining
an education at Utah State is something students can
carry on with them.
Loyalty was another discipline Hone
said students should train themselves in.
"You can develop loyalty just
for the sake of developing loyalty," He said. "Be a
Utah State football fan even when they stink, because
sometime down the road they're going to be good."