Following Greg Hardy’s signing to the UFC, there has been plenty of backlash, but it isn’t even close to the worst thing the promotion has done.
In 2014, NFL Defensive End Greg Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and given 18 months probation. The charges were later dropped after the victim stopped talking to prosecutors and failed to appear in court during an appeal. Here we are four years later, and Greg Hardy just won his professional MMA debut on DWTNCS and was signed to a developmental deal with the UFC.
This decision has garnered plenty of backlash and criticism towards the promotion. Many say the UFC shouldn’t promote someone with a past like Hardy’s, or allow him to fight on MMA’s biggest stage. Many are claiming this is the worst thing the UFC has ever done and are trashing them. But at the same time those with their pitchforks out have overlooked some horrible things that the UFC has allowed, especially recently.
Now, this is in no way defending Hardy’s behavior or protecting the UFC from criticism. More of the opposite actually. This signing is very much in line with the UFC’s thinking, with the idea being that as long as you can make money for the promotion, who cares about the content of your character? If you beat your girlfriend on the side who cares as long as you bring money to the table? That, at least, appears to be the message.
Greg Hardy tho. 😯 pic.twitter.com/x8nMCPrqM9
— AAWOL (@LiveAAWOL) June 13, 2018
Greg Hardy is just one of many fighters that the UFC has allowed over the years that have a questionable past, to say the least. In fact, the UFC has often overlooked fighters’ pasts and part of this is also on the fans. Hardy is merely one of the first to actually get backlash over their past instead of it just being brushed off.
For example, ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Anthony Johnson is a beloved fighter who retired last year and was a fan-favorite because of his spectacular knockout power. However in 2014, the same year as Hardy’s domestic violence incident mind you, Johnson was taken to court over his alleged assault of the mother of his kids. Later, much like Hardy, the case was dismissed and Johnson returned to fighting and didn’t lose too many fans. Today you rarely hear it brought up when discussing ‘Rumble.’
About two years ago heavyweight Cody East was signed to the promotion and lost two fights and was quickly cut. There was some uproar about his signing but not much, and there should’ve been. East had been arrested for everything from rape and child abuse to assault. There wasn’t overwhelming criticism for East’s signing and it wasn’t constantly brought up like Hardy’s history.
So what’s the point of this article? If fans want people like Hardy to not be signed, they can’t look the other way when lesser-known fighters or beloved fighters get caught doing the same thing as Hardy. It must be an even playing field, no matter how popular a fighter is. But the reality is that it’s likely nothing will change. The UFC is also the same company that said Conor McGregor’s actions were the worst thing in the history of the UFC, while also showing him in Embedded specials and in commercials shot-putting a dolly at a bus. The same UFC condemning Nick Diaz and saying they have a zero-tolerance policy on domestic violence while signing Greg Hardy.
MMA is half entertainment, that much is known. But time will tell if anyone will pay to see Greg Hardy, or if this signing will blow up in the company’s face. If he does make it in the big show, however, there’s plenty of fault to go around.