BY FABIO MORETTI
MMA is the hottest platform in sports right now, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more professional sports personalities are turning to MMA for a second chance in the sports world after retiring from their various fields. And the odds for MMA fights tend to spike when renowned names enter the mix.
For this reason, no one was shocked when Dana White said that he wasn’t completely averse to the idea of Greg Hardy, a controversial ex-NFL star joining the UFC. Of course, White was a little cautious with his comments, suggesting that he wasn’t ready to bring Hardy into the fold until the star proved his worth, showing that he could actually go toe to toe with the best MMA fighters in the world.
“I’m one of those guys too who believes that we’re all human beings and we all make mistakes,” White said on FS1’s ‘Speak for Yourself’ show. “And when you make a mistake, you pay your penance, whatever it might be, and you should be allowed to make a living and move on in your life. Is he good enough to come into the UFC and fight? I highly doubt it.”
“I’ve been playing football for a couple weeks too, maybe I’ll try out for the (New England) Patriots?” White added jokingly. “It takes a little bit longer than that, but he could fight at one of these small shows. We’ll see how he looks, and I don’t know.”
White refused to hold Hardy to his past controversies. Rather, he said that everyone makes mistakes; and as a human being, when you made a mistake, you should be allowed to pay your penance, whatever shape it might take, and then move forward, continuing to make a living within the field you choose.
So for White, Hardy’s past and controversies do not, in any way, prevent him from coming and making it big in the UFC, but only if he has what it takes to fight. That is the key: Hardy’s abilities.
White made a joke about the fact that he had also been playing football for a few weeks now, however, that didn’t mean he had what he took to try out successfully for the New England Patriots. It takes time to transition from one sport to another, and Hardy will have to work hard to make his mark in the UFC.
Until then, there are a number of smaller shows that he could fight in, giving people like White a chance to see what he’s made of. At 28 years of age, Hardy said on Tuesday that he was putting his football career on hold. Instead, he was turning his attention towards professional mixed martial arts.
Hardy was once a promising defensive star in the NFL, playing for the Panthers. Things took a terrible turn when his troubling history of domestic abuse came to light. Things came to a head when Hardy was convicted of abusing and assaulting ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder.
For the crime, he was put on 18 month probation, this along with a sixty-day suspended stay in jail. Fortunately for Hardy, Holder failed to make an appearance in court for the Jury Trial so the charges were dismissed on appeal.
Even bringing a closure to his legal dilemma couldn’t save Hardy’s career, though; Hardy went unsigned during the 2016 free agency period. No one in the NFL wants anything to do with Hardy right now.
Hardy will probably breathe a sigh of relief after Dana White’s comments. Following his revelation that he would pursue MMA, sports reporter Jay Glazer called upon fight promoters and coaches to blackball Hardy from their gyms on Twitter when he wrote:
I would be incredibly disappointed in any of my fellow MMA coaches and any promoters if they took Greg Hardy in and taught him a shred of our incredible sport. Many of us train women in self defense specifically to help protect vs domestic violence. Me and all my coaches at @Unbreakable do and take great pride in that. Competing in any sport is a privilege, Greg Hardy should not be granted the privilege. There are many beautiful arts taught in our sport, none of which should be afforded to him.
He didn’t think that Hardy deserved the privilege of competing in the sport because of his history. However, Dana White disagreed with the notion that a past mistake should essentially bring your career to an end. HE is ready to give Hardy a real shot.
PHOTO VIA GETTY IMAGES