Dan Hardy, former UFC welterweight title challenger and current color commentator and analyst for the UFC knows a thing or two about fight promotion.
In just his fifth fight in the UFC, “The Outlaw” fought for the UFC welterweight title against Georges St-Pierre and the veteran spoke about how he sees things happening with the UFC’s situation with Conor McGregor.
“I think it’s about respect more than anything,” Hardy told MMAjunkie. “I think that both parties are feeling disrespected – Conor, by not being given the leeway that he wants on his training, and Dana and the UFC feeling like he’s not holding up his end of the bargain by not coming in and filming the commercial. A part of that is him digging his heels in and saying he needs to be more focused on training than the PR stuff. I get it.
“I think his statement was very well written, and I think he stated his case very well. When he spoke about that a time comes when you need to stop handing out fliers, I think he’s feeling the pressure of that loss and the pressure of the fight that’s coming up.
“But, at the same time, the UFC are trying to make this the biggest event in their history. It’s UFC 200. They’re doing three events in one week, and they know how important it is for people to know that McGregor is on the card. He really is key to the pay-per-view sales. As important as it is for Nate to be there, really it’s the fight with Conor that people want to see. Nate wants that as well, so it’s a really awkward situation.”
Regarding the balance of media, promotion and training, Hardy had some interesting things to say.
“The more time he spent doing PR, eight to 12 hours a day, with cameras and people around him asking the questions, the more that part of himself is going to take over,” Hardy said. “And I think that’s what happened and this is ultimately ego. His brashness, the way he presents himself, the way he dresses, the way he sells these fights, it’s ego out of control. But that’s why people love it, it’s fascinating.
“But the result is that it eventually does take over, and I think that’s what happened in the Nate Diaz fight. He kept throwing that big left hand because he expected him to go down, because he’s bought into that hype himself. He said he was prepared to fight anybody at any moment, so when the opponent changed, there was pressure there that he put on himself by the things that he said, that forced him into a situation where he was fighting Nate Diaz.”