Last Saturday night, in the main event of the UFC’s debut card on ESPN, former NFL star Greg Hardy took his first steps into the Octagon for a fight with Allen Crowder. Although Hardy had a few moments of success in this fight, he was ultimately disqualified for throwing an illegal knee in the second round.
While some people feel Greg Hardy threw this illegal knee intentionally, Allen Crowder seems willing to give the former football player the benefit of the doubt.
“I don’t think he was looking for a way out,” Crowder said on the MMA Hour this week (transcript via MMA Fighting). “I think it’s more inexperience. He’s not been doing this very long. He stepped out to the side. I believe in his mind he thought … I know he knew he’s not allowed to throw that knee with me on the ground. But I think heated up in the heat of the moment, he just forgot for a split second and threw that knee trying to get that finish. He just made a mistake. Another mistake of many mistakes that he makes. But I don’t feel like he was trying to cop out of the fight. He’s a tough dude. I think it was just an inexperience kind of thing.”
Allen Crowder also opened up on the damage the knee caused him. He says he still feels he still could have continued to fight.
“It more stunned me than anything,” he said. “I fell back to my back and I knew that he wasn’t allowed to do that. So I was like, alright, I’m gonna take a second, I’m gonna get back up, we’ll be good to go. Then the doctors start running in there and they immediately stop the fight and whatnot.”
“Had that knee not hit me in the head, I feel like I was gonna get him back on the ground,” Crowder said. “I still had more left in the tank. I feel like if I got him back on the ground, I would have finished him with elbows like I planned on from the beginning.”
While this fight didn’t go quite as planned for Allen Crowder, he did accomplish one of his secondary missions: proving Greg Hardy wasn’t ready for the UFC.
“I wanted to show he wasn’t ready for the UFC yet,” Crowder said. “I feel like I’ve done that, I feel like I showed he wasn’t experienced. I showed that he still has work to do on the ground. He’s a strong guy, he got backup. Most people, when I get them on the ground they don’t get back up.”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/23/2019.