Dan Hardy discusses “depressing” atmosphere being at UFC event for first time since release: “It’s very much Putin’s Russia in there right now”

By Josh Evanoff - March 23, 2023

Former UFC commentator Dan Hardy had a couple of thoughts after attending UFC 286 last weekend.


The card was headlined by a welterweight trilogy title clash between Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman. Ultimately, it was ‘Rocky’ who picked up the victory by majority decision. Other excellent performances across the main card saw wins by names such as Justin Gaethje, Gunnar Nelson, and more.

Opening up the card was Veronica Hardy facing recent Ultimate Fighter winner Julianna Miller. If that name catches you off-guard, it’s because it’s Dan Hardy’s wife. Previously Veronica Macedo, she picked up her first UFC win in nearly four years at the event. She defeated ‘Killer’ by a lopsided unanimous decision.

Last weekend was the first time that Dan Hardy attended a UFC event since his release. After conflicts with Herb Dean as well as other members of the company, ‘The Outlaw’ was released in March 2021. Two months later, the commentator was cut as a fighter as well.

During a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s YouTube channel, Hardy discussed what it was like being backstage at a UFC event for the first time since his release. The commentator admitted that the atmosphere was quite depressing. Hardy cited the recent Powerslap push from the company as one of the major reasons why.

Dana White

Dan Hardy discusses attending UFC 286 in London

“Honestly it was a really cathartic week for me.” Dan Hardy stated. “I expected them to cause as many problems for me and Veronica as they could, and it was a relatively smooth sailing week.  [I] just stayed out of the way, which is what I did when I was working for them to be honest… I was around a lot of people who were friends of mine that I’ve worked with for a long time.”

He continued, “I teased a lot of them about Powerslap and got the same reaction from all of them. It’s depressing to be around it honest. The majority of the people within the organization can’t stand it either, but they don’t feel like they have a choice. It’s very much [Vladamir] Putin’s Russia in there right now, in the UFC right now. It’s just depressing to see all these people that are normally really enthusiastic about mixed-martial-arts carry the weight of this ridiculous circus Powerslap on the side.”

“The company’s been rotting from the inside for a long while and now the rot is starting to show on the outside… As far as the actual organization goes, it’s always going to be at arms-length away from me. Especially while Dana [White] is at the helm because I feel like he’s going to do more damage.”

What do you make of these comments? Do you agree with Dan Hardy? Sound off in the comment section below PENN Nation!

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Dan Hardy UFC UFC 286