John McCarthy doesn’t blame Greg Hardy for inhaler incident

Big John McCarthy, Ariel Helwani, , Robbie Lawler, Ben Askren, Greg Hardy

Legendary referee John McCarthy is weighing in on “Inhalergate” following the overturning of Greg Hardy’s unanimous decision win at UFC Boston.

At Friday night’s event at the TD Garden, Hardy went the distance for the very first time in his MMA career as he picked up a victory over the debuting Ben Sosoli. As interesting as it was to see Hardy get to a third round, one of the biggest stories of the event came between the second and third rounds when Hardy asked and, seemingly, was given permission to use an inhaler on the stool.

At the end of the in-Octagon festivities, Hardy’s decision win was overturned to a no contest.

UFC president Dana White was left shaking his head and turning bright red when talking about the incident following the event, especially when talking about former Octagon competitor — and Hardy’s coach — Din Thomas.

While blame has been handed out like Halloween candy, McCarthy spoke to MMA Fighting to try to provide more clarity about the situation.

“The person that has knowledge, the person that is responsible for that corner is the inspector,” McCarthy said.

“The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission assigned that person to that corner for that fight. He is the representative, he is the arm of the commission and Greg Hardy didn’t do anything other than ask, ‘Can I use my inhaler?’ [The inspector] asked the question of, ‘Is it approved?’ What is Hardy thinking, he’s thinking, ‘All my drugs have to go through USADA’ and so he goes, ‘Yeah, it’s USADA-approved.’ And [the inspector] gives permission—he should never have done that—to the fighter to use the inhaler, so the fighter uses it.”

With Hardy’s controversial past and the scrutiny that follows it, the former NFLer will always have to shoulder blame in these situations. It comes with the territory. As much as Hardy feels he let people down yet again, John McCarthy is not one of the many who point the finger at him.

“Did Greg Hardy try to cheat? No,” McCarthy explained. “He’s asking in front of everyone, ‘Can I use this?’ So everything that you’re looking at, no matter what, goes down to one person. It was that inspector who allowed him to do that. That inspector did not know the rules and that inspector created the entire situation. All he needed to say is, ‘I don’t know. Don’t do that. Let me find out.'”

Hardy’s team will appeal the no contest and, currently, the appeal is set to go before the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission for a ruling. In terms of being the third man in the cage, McCarthy would’ve taken a different approach than Bryan Miner, the referee at the time.

“We’ve got the power to do a lot,” McCarthy said. “He could stop that fight at anytime he wants. He can disqualify a fighter. Now should you do that? No. You’ve got to be judicious and you’re looking at not just one thing.

“You’ve got to look at everything that’s involved. You’ve got to think of the promotion, you’ve got to think of the fans, you’ve got to think of a lot of things before you just make any decision. But yes, you have the ability and the power, you can stop a fight at any time.”

What do you think of this explanation from John McCarthy? Do you think the MSAC will ultimately overturn the no contest into a win for Greg Hardy?

This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/21/2019.