ESPN is perfectly OK with being in the Greg Hardy business.
That’s the word from Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White, who says that he is going forward with Hardy making his official UFC debut on the first fight card that will be broadcast by ESPN.
“We’ve been building this ESPN card for a while and he was one of the guys that we had planned on putting on that card,” White said of Hardy.
Asked a follow-up about the UFC’s decision to put Hardy on the same card as female UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich, who was recently injured in an incident that resulted in her boyfriend, mixed martial arts fighter Arnold Berdon, being charged with second-degree assault, White told reporters that Ostovich doesn’t have a problem with it so no one else should, either.
“I’m not going to talk about Greg Hardy anymore,” White said. “I already covered this. I’m not playing this bulls–t with you guys. He’s on the UFC roster. He’s on the UFC roster, period, end of story. . . . He’s on the roster. Listen, you guys want to be sensitive about s–t? Anybody can be sensitive about anything. You can make an issue about everything. The weird thing is, you guys give a f–k, but she doesn’t. She doesn’t care.”
Ostovich may not care, or she may feel she can’t speak up because she needs to make a living as a UFC fighter, and UFC fighters who publicly contradict Dana White lose their abilities to make their livings. And making an issue of Hardy fighting in the Octagon on ESPN would be contradicting White, who accused reporters of caring about Hardy only because he “gets hits” and threatened to walk out of a press appearance if he was asked repeated questions about it.
“I’m done with it. I’m done with it. I’m done with it. I’m done with it! I’m done. Don’t make me leave. I’m done,” White said.
White denied that anyone cares about Hardy’s past, which includes a domestic violence allegation that got him arrested and suspended by the NFL.
“Nobody’s been put off by it,” White said. “Who’s put off by it?”
Although charges against Hardy were ultimately dropped when he agreed to settle a civil lawsuit with the woman he was accused of abusing, that arrest is the primary reason that Hardy is no longer in the NFL. NFL teams were put off by Hardy enough that they no longer want him. The UFC and its partners at ESPN don’t feel the same way.