Last night, on the latest episode of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, controversial former NFL player Greg Hardy earned himself a developmental UFC contract with a thunderous first-round knockout of fellow NFL veteran Austen Lane.
While Hardy’s victory was undeniably impressive, his history of domestic violence has made his association with the UFC incredibly controversial. UFC President Dana White, however, seems to be convinced that the former football player is a changed man.
“You talk to the people in his camp, they love the guy, men and women,” White told ESPN shortly after Hardy’s knockout win (transcribed by Jesse Holland for MMAMania). “They think he’s a great guy and a guy who [was] probably doing drugs, drinking and made a big mistake.”
“This guy has paid his dues, and like I said, he hit rock bottom,” White added subsequently. “You can point the finger at a guy all you want, but you can’t look down at a guy for trying to turn his life around and trying to be a better person. And I believe that’s what he’s doing.”
If Hardy does err again, however, White assures there will be “no mercy.”
“He’s the type of athlete, and he’s the type of guy that, if he does anything wrong, there will be no mercy for him,” the UFC boss explained.
The terms of Hardy’s developmental deal with the UFC are not abundantly clear at present. The implication seems to be that he is under contract with the promotion — which means no other opportunistic promotions can attempt to sign him and cash in on his quest for redemption — but that he will have to take a few more fights outside the UFC before making his official Octagon debut. Stay tuned for more updates on that as they emerge.
What do you think of the UFC’s choice to associate with Greg Hardy?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 6/13/2018.