Tonight saw disgraced former NFL star Greg Hardy attempt to continue on the path of public redemption in his UFC debut in the co-main event of the first ever UFC card broadcast in the landmark new deal with sports media giant ESPN against Allen Crowder.
We’ve covered Hardy’s burgeoning MMA career extensively on this website, ever since he earned his first professional win on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series with a vicious, 53 second knockout against fellow NFL alumn Austen Lane.
Despite his chequered past, Hardy’s athletic pedigree is undeniable, especially in the heavyweight division that has long been lacking in upcoming contenders. Since then Hardy has fought twice more professionally, managing to pick up another two KO wins with neither of his opponents even managing to make it out of the first minute.
Tonight’s bout against Allen Crowder was a significant step-up in competition for Hardy, with Crowder having amassed a 9-3 professional record prior to tonight’s bout, including a knockout win against Dontale Mayes on the Contender Series and having fought and won in Bellator.
As will likely always be the case with Hardy’s career, an intense media spotlight has been focused on his past, including domestic violence charges stemming back from his time in professional football. This media scrutiny was only compounded when it was announced that Hardy would be fighting on the same card as women’s flyweight contender Rachael Ostovich, who was recently a victim of domestic violence.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani, who told Hardy that he didn’t think he should be allowed to compete on this card, Hardy stressed that he was just hoping to be granted a second chance, and hoped to redeem himself among MMA fans. When the two men squared off at the weigh-ins yesterday it was clear that fireworks were going to follow in the battle of the giants.