Sunday MMA Quick Hits: Greg Hardy Tries Hand at Boxing, De La Hoya Dodges Bullet

Greg Hardy, UFC 272
Greg Hardy, UFC 272 official weigh-in Credit: Gabriel Gonzalez/Cageside Press

Former UFC heavyweight Greg Hardy will move to a sport where takedowns aren’t a concern, while Oscar De La Hoya sounds awfully glad he didn’t return to the ring for a match with former UFC champ Vitor Belfort. Plus, Derek Brunson speaks up on kids attending drag show. It’s your Sunday MMA Quick Hits!

Greg Hardy Set to Make Pro Boxing Debut

Greg Hardy’s MMA career may be on hold for a minute. The former UFC heavyweight, a controversial figure who was bounced out of the NFL due to domestic violence accusations and other issues, was let go in March following a third consecutive defeat. Now, he’s going to try his hand at boxing.

Hardy, a.k.a. “The Prince of War,” will debut in the ring on October 8, 2022 in Delray Beach, FL under the Black Sheep Boxing banner. No opponent has been announced, but the move makes a certain amount of sense: Hardy has knockout power, but struggled with the ground game in mixed martial arts.

Derek Brunson Speaks Out on Kids Being Taken to Drag Show at Bar

UFC middleweight Derek Brunson spoke out against kids being taken to a drag show at an adult nightclub recently, and was immediately labelled trans-phobic.

The show, which featured dancers dressed in drag performing in front of a neon sign that read “It’s Not Gonna Lick Itself” was somehow deemed appropriate for kids who appear to be under 10. Dancers twerked, kids handed money to them. Brunson’s response?

“This is bit much. Children at a provocative drag show… Can we protect our children more in today’s society. Children don’t need to be at strip clubs, or any provocative show throwing money.”

That’s not trans-phobic. It barely registers as controversial. That’s common sense. Gay, straight, trans, whatever, you don’t take single-digit children to adult venues. This isn’t a couple of teens sneaking in with fake IDs. Still, some took it as another UFC star attacking the trans/queer community.

Brunson went on to clarify that he would have the same issue with kids being taken to a strip club.

Ilia Topuria accuses Movsar Evloev of Fighting “Shamefully” Following UFC Vegas 56

Featherweight Ilia Topuria was no fan of Movsar Evloev’s performance at UFC Vegas 56. While the undefeated Russian picked up a decision win over Dan Ige, German-born Georgian Topuria claimed the former M-1 champ fought “shamefully” with no attempts to finish the fight.

Adding “you don’t have the balls to call me out,” Topuria seems to be angling for a fight between himself and Evloev. Whether the UFC books the bout remains to be seen. The pair were matched up earlier this year, only for Evloev to withdraw due to a positive COVID-19 test.

Regardless, featherweight is getting real interesting with undefeated talents like Evloev, Topuria, and Bryce Mitchell.

Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov as TUF Coaches? Dana White is Down

UFC President Dana White is down with the idea of Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson serving as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter.

While Khabib is retired and Ferguson is stuck on a four-fight skid, “El Cucuy” recently suggested a coaching gig on TUF. Surprisingly, Nurmagomedov was receptive to the idea — and now, White says he’s “sold” on it as well.

“So you’re telling me, you guys as fans, media, whatever it might be, like the idea of two guys possibly coaching that wouldn’t fight each other?” White said recently on The Spinnin Backfist MMA Show, when asked about the idea. “I’ll consider it. Congratulations. … I will absolutely entertain that idea.”

It wouldn’t be the first time coaches haven’t fought: Conor McGregor coached opposite Urijah Faber, while due to various injuries, bouts like Junior Dos Santos vs. Brock Lesnar, and Roy “Big Country” Nelson vs. Shane Carwin never came to pass.

“Hopefully they’ll get pissed off enough at each other that they actually want to fight and I can make them fight,” added White. “I’m in. You sold me.”

Scary, Sad Situation in Boxing a Reminder of the Dangers of Combat Sports

Competing in combat sports is no joke. More so than any other sport on the planet, those who fight for a living put their health on the line every time out. That has been underscored by the tragic outcome of Simiso Buthelezi vs. Siphesihle Mntungwa, a WBF All Africa title bout part of a Starline Boxing Promotions event in Greyville, Durban, South Africa.

A clip of the fight went viral shortly after it transpired, showing Buthelezi attacking a phantom opponent after his actual opponent had been knocked through the ropes. The ref immediately waved off the fight, though it was not clear what had resulted in Buthelezi being some obviously out of it. The fighter was transported to hospital, and later placed in a medically induced coma.

On Wednesday, the boxer’s family and Boxing South Africa (BSA) announced in a join statement that the 24-year old had died.

Trainer Bheki Mngomezulu said Buthelezi didn’t show any signs of being ill during training.

“I really can’t explain what happened to be honest. It was bewildering, but in his training and in the build-up to the fight, there was nothing untoward with regards to his condition,” he told News 24. “He was in good nick before the fight.”

An independent medical review of the incident is pending.

Olympics Needing Viewers? Add MMA, Says White

Short and sweet: while he’s not the one who will be pushing it, Dana White feels MMA should be an Olympic sport.

“I think it should be an Olympic sport already,” White said Wednesday during a UFC fan Q&A (h/t MMA Junkie). “It’s not my job. It’s not what I’m looking to do. I’m not pushing to turn this thing into an Olympic sport. I agree with whoever said that, yes. And not to mention the fact that one of the big problems the Olympics is having right now, is viewership. You want viewers? Put MMA in the Olympics. ”

Oscar De La Hoya Admits He “Dodged a Bullet” by Not Boxing Vitor Belfort

Did Oscar De La Hoya suddenly come to his senses? It sure seems that way. A sober, introspective De La Hoya appeared on The MMA Hour last week and admitted that he “dodged a bullet” when his boxing match with former UFC champ Vitor Belfort fell through.

It became obvious in training, De La Hoya revealed, that something was off (h/t MMA Fighting). “When I was sparring, I was getting hit a lot. So it was kind of like, I was being stubborn. I was in great shape, my reflexes — the videos that I posted, they were legit — they were fast, I felt my reflexes were incredible, but when I was sparring, I was getting hit too much.”

A different sort of fight, with COVID-19, pulled De La Hoya from the match-up. Evander Holyfield stepped in, and was thoroughly pummelled by Belfort.

“Everything happens for a reason,” said De La Hoya. “It didn’t take place, unfortunately, but I’m glad I didn’t fight this monster of a fighter [Belfort], because he’s a big guy, he knows what he’s doing, he’s talented. As old as we were, we still can throw punches. We saw it with Evander Holyfield, where he knocked him out, so I think I dodged a bullet there.”

Oscar De La Hoya says he’s now officially retired from boxing, and will instead continue to focus on Golden Boy Promotions.

Looking Back at UFC Vegas 56

The Cageside Live crew tackled UFC Vegas 56, judging in the Molina-Zhumagulov fight and more— if you missed it, check it out below!