Following his successful pro debut on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, controversial former NFL player Greg Hardy was awarded a developmental deal with the UFC —meaning he’ll have to take a few fights outside the Octagon before he debuts in the Octagon proper.
The second of these fights occurred last night, on the season finale of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, where he knocked out Tebaris Gordon in just 17 seconds. Despite this blitzkrieg win, the former NFLer still wasn’t awarded an official UFC contract.
Speaking to the media shortly after the show ended, UFC President Dana White explained what it will take to convince him that Greg Hardy is ready for the perilous UFC heavyweight division. The short answer? He wants to see that the former football player can handle the grappling phase of the game.
“I told him, I said, ‘I hope you’re working on your wrestling, because I think guys are gonna start coming out and trying to take you down,’” White said (via MMA Fighting). “I don’t see how much longer guys will come out and strike with him. He claims he’s working on his wrestling and his ground game all day, every day, so we’re gonna continue to build this guy, continue to get him fights and see what he does.
“It’s the level of competition. The guy is 1-0 and he just fought a guy who was 3-0.”
If (when) the UFC does sign Greg Hardy, the decision to do so will be met with massive controversy, given his history of domestic violence.
As he has been since the moment the promotion began dealing with the former NFLer, however, White assures Hardy has turned his life around and is no longer a danger to anybody outside the cage.
“The guy has changed his life around,” White said. “This is his second chance. He’s been excellent to deal with. Every body who has come in contact with him since he’s been with us has said nothing but good [things] about him. The guy made a mistake. You’re always gonna have the freaks that have nothing better to do and this and that and somebody has a cause.
“What the guy did was horrible. He has a second chance here. He turned his life around. He got off drugs, he got off alcohol. He hit rock bottom and built himself back up. What do they want the guy to do? He should never work again? He should never do anything again? Life doesn’t work that way.”
Do you think the UFC will eventually sign Greg Hardy?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 8/7/2018.