ESPN, UFC teaming up to promote a Greg Hardy cage fight

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Greg Hardy’s off-field misconduct, most notably a 2014 domestic violence case, ended his NFL career. After he served a suspension in 2015, the Cowboys signed him, were heavily criticized for it, and decided they didn’t want him back after the season. No other NFL team has wanted him since then.

But there’s another sports league that does want Hardy: The Ultimate Fighting Championship. And ESPN wants to televise Hardy’s debut in the Octagon.

The plan is for Hardy to have his first official UFC fight on the first fight card of ESPN’s new deal with the UFC, according to ESPN.com.

It’s easy to see why UFC and ESPN want that: This is a big deal for both parties. For the UFC, the deal with ESPN brings a measure of credibility, which the organization has sought from its founding 25 years ago. For ESPN, the Hardy fight will be airing exclusively on its streaming ESPN+ platform, which the company badly wants to promote. Hardy is a recognizable name, and there will be plenty of fans watching in the hopes of seeing him knock someone out — and perhaps more fans watching in the hopes of seeing him get knocked out.

But there’s something about “Greg Hardy cage fight” that just screams, “Lowest common denominator.” It also doesn’t help that the UFC has repeatedly tried to downplay the seriousness of Hardy’s past actions. UFC President Dana White falsely claimed that Hardy was “never charged with anything,” which simply isn’t true: Hardy was arrested and charged after his ex-girlfriend accused him of grabbing her, choking her, throwing her down and threatening to kill her, on May 13, 2014. Two months later, a judge found him guilty of assault and communicating threats. Under North Carolina law, Hardy had the right to a second trial in front of a jury, and before that jury trial he and his ex-girlfriend settled a civil lawsuit, at which point she declined to testify against him in the criminal case. As a result, prosecutors dropped the charges. That’s a far cry from “never charged with anything.”

Hardy’s past hasn’t kept the UFC from wanting him. He has twice fought on a program called “Dana White’s Contender Series,” which airs on the UFC’s streaming platform, although those are not considered official UFC fights. The UFC has also shown care in developing Hardy as a mixed martial arts fighter, helping him get favorable matchups. So far Hardy has had three amateur MMA fights and three pro fights, and he’s won all six by first-round knockout.

Hardy’s next opponent, Allen Crowder, has had one official UFC fight, and he lost that one by first-round knockout. So the UFC is again giving Hardy a fight he should win, and should win with a highlight-reel knockout that will probably get replayed over and over again on SportsCenter, with reminders to the viewers that the way to watch Hardy fight is to subscribe to ESPN+.

This is ultimately about making money, and the UFC and ESPN think they’ll make money by doing something no NFL team is willing to do: Partnering with Greg Hardy.

26 responses to “ESPN, UFC teaming up to promote a Greg Hardy cage fight

  1. So this P.O.S. gets to keep making stacks while good, honest hard working people struggle to get by. Hope he gets jacked up and disappears into oblivion.

  2. Surprised they aren’t lining up a bout with a woman for him? That seems more Hardy’s style.

  3. UFC President Dana White falsely claimed something? What’s with presidents and their false claims these days? It must be contagious.

  4. I can’t wait to see him fight a real fighter. All those heavyweights hit like a truck and don’t just stand there and let a guy like Hardy hit them. I get the feeling once he gets his head bounced off the canvas he’ll decide to retire.

  5. Give the guy a chance. Tyson made the best of his 2nd shot and made himself better for it in the same field with the same issues. If we just kicking the guy to the curb, chances are he will be worse for our society.

  6. Hardy is going to knock someone out on live TV. Let him get a couple cheap wins, then he’ll face one of the bad boys of the heavyweight division that have been fighting for years. He’ll get grounded and pounded eventually. Standing and punching is alot easier than going to the mat where experience and knowledge is more valuable than strength and athleticism.

  7. Doubt his opponent would lose -UFC won’t allow Greg to push her down onto a futon covered in assault weapons, he’ll only have canvas and she’ll be prepared/expecting it, so able to fight back.

  8. hagemeisterpark920 says:

    December 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Give the guy a chance. Tyson made the best of his 2nd shot and made himself better for it in the same field with the same issues. If we just kicking the guy to the curb, chances are he will be worse for our society.

    ——

    To Tyson’s credit, he at least acknowledged he was wrong and a POS. Greg Hardy still doesn’t think he did anything wrong. At least now he is fighting men…

  9. whenwilliteverend says:December 5, 2018 at 9:26 am
    I can’t wait to see him fight a real fighter. All those heavyweights hit like a truck and don’t just stand there and let a guy like Hardy hit them.
    =======================

    Years ago I did a lot of boxing to get in shape, did a bunch of amateur fights and thought I was pretty good. I fought against a pro and he took me to the cleaners. He was so fast and hit harder than I’d been hit before. The difference between amateurs and pros is massive.

  10. granadafan says:
    December 5, 2018 at 11:16 am
    whenwilliteverend says:December 5, 2018 at 9:26 am
    I can’t wait to see him fight a real fighter. All those heavyweights hit like a truck and don’t just stand there and let a guy like Hardy hit them.
    =======================

    Years ago I did a lot of boxing to get in shape, did a bunch of amateur fights and thought I was pretty good. I fought against a pro and he took me to the cleaners. He was so fast and hit harder than I’d been hit before. The difference between amateurs and pros is massive.

    ———————-

    A good friend of mine has been in martial arts his entire life. He decided to train MMA and attempt to go pro. Literally, the best martial artist that I know personally was choked out within the first 30 seconds.

    I agree. There’s a vast difference.

  11. MMA has a domestic violence rate twice that of general society. The UFC gives it lip service but I don’t believe they actually have a policy in place.

  12. But the NFL did want him back after the case. He just didnt play well enough when he came back to be worth the trouble. He is in the UFC not the NFL, not because one is more open than the other, but because when both gave him a second chance, his performance in the UFC was better than in the NFL, because the UFC has less other highly elite big athletes to compete with since Football tends to pay more and have a deeper farm system.

  13. Once Hardy gets in the cage with an actual fighter like Daniel Cormier or Stipe Miocic he’ll be lucky to see the 3rd minute of the first round. Plenty of tomato cans out there; elite fighters are a whole other matter entirely.

  14. 3 things that used to be great but continually get worse, just as most things do in this modern age of ours: UFC, ESPN, and Dana White who is a shameless used car salesman. I love how he used the footage of McGregor throwing that gate through the bus as part of the official UFC promotion for his fight vs Khabib

  15. ESPN is the same network that tried to admonish Reuben Foster on MNF during the game broadcast yet they want to turn around and make a buck off Greg Hardy?

    What world are we living in?

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