In the immortal words of Kevin Hart.
The UFC’s first outing on ESPN was a smashing success for the organization. However, it was not for co-main event fighter, Greg Hardy.
The embattled former NFL star lost his first official UFC appearance. As a result, Hardy was disqualified after an illegal knee strike to opponent Allen Crowder.
Crowder had his right knee down on the mat which it is illegal to knee a “downed” opponent in MMA.
“I was aware of the rule as it stands, not aware that that was what was going on,” Hardy said to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto post-fight. “I got deep into the fight, I was in the moment trying to time it and I mistimed it. And for that to end my day, man, it’s a hard pill to swallow.
Hardy also received the ire of the sold-out Barclays Center audience that chanted “a**hole” after the DQ ruling. It put a sour cherry on top of the beginning of erasure of his past wrongdoings.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police arrested Greg Hardy in May 2014 with two misdemeanor charges of assault on a female and communicating threats.
The altercation started because the woman apparently attacked Hardy and a friend refusing to leave when asked. Hardy threw the woman on the floor and into a bathtub ultimately slamming her onto a futon with guns then strangling her.
According to the warrant, Hardy threatened to kill her. However, it was Hardy himself who called the police.
Hardy was sentenced to 18 months probation.
Star Power Doesn’t Equate To Being Big Stage Ready
Hardy started training MMA in 2016 and wasted no time as an amateur. He recorded three first-round knockouts before turning pro, which also resulted in three first-round knockouts before his fateful match against Alan Crowder.
Training with Din Thomas of American Top Team in South Florida, Hardy lives in the communal dorms with the team. The perfect training ground where stars Amanda Nunes, Muhammad Lawal, and Robbie Lawler get it in.
However, the pressure of a big stage was too early for a guy with only three amateur fights and pro fights.
It’s getting faster so we have to pick it up,” said Din Thomas, Hardy’s head coach, exclusively to TSL. “He just didnt have a lot of time to go through a lot as an amateur or earlier fights, that’s the problem. He’s always had media attention watching him so he has to fight these fights because they’re not going to give him a a fair shot. I knew that going in to work with him.
“After this one, its going to be a (Top) ten to fifteen guy. Then after that it’s going to be Derrick Lewis then after that its going to be is ‘Greg Hardy ready for a title?’ So when we train now and he’s not getting something, I say ‘I know you’re big and strong and you’re going to punch this guy in teh face and he’s going to fall down. But that’s not who we’re training for. We’re training for Francis Ngannou, we’re training for Cain Velasquez because that the guys you’re going to fight a year from now.”
Combat sports is coming at Greg Hardy fast and as the spotlight burns ever brighter, time will tell if he will catch up to his expectations.