Last night, ESPN reported that former NFL star Greg Hardy is likely to make his long-discussed UFC debut on January 19 in Brooklyn, New York, when the UFC makes its first appearance on ESPN+.
Hardy’s seemingly inevitable move to the UFC has always been the subject of controversy, as he was previously found guilty on two charges of domestic violence against his ex-girlfriend (though those charges were later dropped when his victim did not appear in court). That said, it’s hard to imagine the UFC handling the controversial former NFL’s debut any worse.
In scheduling Hardy for this January 19 card, the promotion has put him on the same card as Rachael Ostovich, who was the victim of domestic violence mere weeks ago. Ostovich, who is set to fight Paige VanZant on the card, was briefly rumored to be off the card as the result of the injuries she sustained in her attack, but has decided to stay on the card to send a message of solidarity and strength to her fellow survivors.
“Although this is a very difficult time for me and my family, I felt that this fight in January was important,” Rachael Ostovich said. “I felt that it was extremely important to me to follow through with it and not only for me but first for my daughter and other people that might be going through similar situations. I want to take a stand against domestic violence and show others that it’s okay to come out and speak about it and not be quieted.
“I feel like I have to do this. This is something that can’t be taken away from me. I want to use this big worldwide UFC platform to show people that…don’t let anyone or anything come between you and your dreams and your career.”
Now, it appears, Rachael Ostovich will share the card with a man who was previously found guilty of the very crime she was recently a victim of.
Unsurprisingly, the MMA community has taken notice of this undeniably tone-deaf decision by the UFC. Here’s how people are reacting on Twitter.
Greg Hardy’s eventual UFC debut was always going to be controversial and met with heavy criticism. However, to debut him on the same card as Rachael Ostovich (on the first ESPN card, no less) is a dubious decision at best and incredibly tone-deaf. https://t.co/lqd8BYW9GA
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 5, 2018
.@bokamotoESPN is reporting that Greg Hardy will make his UFC debut on the same Jan. 19 card that Rachael Ostovich will fight on. That’s incredibly poor judgment by the UFC and so easily avoidable.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) December 5, 2018
Of course it would be on the first ESPN+ card…which also happens to be the same card that Rachael Ostovich is fighting on as she openly speaks out and stands against DV. Seriously shameless stuff from the UFC. #UFCBrooklyn https://t.co/7TIj2j1el6
— Drake Riggs (@Dre_Kriggs) December 5, 2018
That would be the same event as Rachael Ostovich. Not the best idea. https://t.co/IR4FSEtTvo
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) December 5, 2018
Look, we all knew Hardy debuting was going to happen but this is an extremely idiotic placement by the UFC with what just happened to Ostovich. https://t.co/ZTPQhDZ1qP
— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) December 5, 2018
— Jennifer Millsap (@jenmillsap) December 5, 2018
On the same card as Rachael Ostovich… "Proud" of the UFC 👍 https://t.co/PT1ZNPZV84
— MaRCeL DoRFF 🇳🇱🇮🇩 (@BigMarcel24) December 5, 2018
If not a single one of you MMA media members in attendance for that UFC on ESPN+ card featuring Greg Hardy and Rachel Ostovich dare to raise the topic of domestic violence during your fight week interviews and media obligations – you’re a fucking fraud.
— Jordan Patu (@Jordan_Patu) December 5, 2018
The UFC: "Domestic violence is unacceptable, and we will do anything to support Rachael Ostovich through her difficult time leading in to #UFCBrooklyn."
Also the UFC: pic.twitter.com/x8rKS5btu2
— Dave Madden (@DaveMMAdden) December 5, 2018
So everyone talking about hardy being on the same card as Racheal is going to boycott the card right? Make sure your actions line up with your complaints or you’re part of the problem!
— ike vallie-flagg (@IKEVF) December 5, 2018
So we have Greg Hardy, who has a history of domestic abuse, on the same card as Rachael Ostovich, who has actively been campaigning against domestic violence after recently being attacked. Sounds about right. #UFCBrooklyn https://t.co/HyO5XHHl7G
— Alex Scaffidi (@alexscaffidi_) December 5, 2018
Jon Anik: AND JUST LIKE THAT! RACHAEL OSTOVICH GETS THE TAP IN THE THIRD! WOW! WHAT AN ABSOLUTE TRIUMPH! COMING BACK FROM A BROKEN ORBITAL BONE ONLY MONTHS AGO!!
ESPN broadcast team: Truly inspiring stuff. Up next, NFL star Greg Hardy makes his UFC debut. Stay tuned!
— MacMally🍀 (@MacMallyMMA) December 5, 2018
Absolutely abhorrent of the UFC to schedule Greg Hardy's debut for the same card Rachael Ostovich is fighting on. Is it really possible they're that careless? Unbelievable.
— Tom Taylor (@TomTayMMA) December 5, 2018
Incredibly tone deaf by the UFC in likely putting Greg Hardy on the same show as Rachel Ostovich for the first ESPN show. Been told they are scrambling for a main event at this point which is pretty sad since that should have been locked up weeks ago.
— Steven Muehlhausen (@SMuehlhausenMMA) December 5, 2018
What do you think of the UFC’s decision to put Rachael Ostovich and Greg Hardy on the same card?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/5/2018.