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Greg Hardy and His Controversial UFC Debut [Opinion]

Today, while I was at work, I received a DM on Twitter asking if I’d like to write an article about the “Greg Hardy situation”. I had a busy morning and I had not been on Twitter yet. I read the DM and I thought, “Great. I wonder what he has gotten into now.” I decided to check my Twitter timeline to find out what was going on and I was shocked. Dana White and the UFC decided to allow Greg Hardy to make his UFC debut. On top of that, Greg Hardy, former football star and convicted domestic abuser, will be making his UFC debut on the upcoming fight card in Brooklyn in January, which happens to be the UFC’s ESPN debut. Sharing this card will be Paige VanZant and Rachael Ostovich.

For any MMA fans who have been living under a rock the past few weeks, Ostovich was recently the victim of domestic violence. Her husband has been charged with second degree assault after an altercation on November 18th, which left Ostovich with a broken orbital bone and put the women’s matchup of the Brooklyn fight card in jeopardy. Ostovich has decided to not let the assault affect her upcoming fight and she is continuing her training ahead of the January fight. Since her domestic violence incident, Ostovich has dedicated time to domestic violence awareness and making sure that MMA fans know that she isn’t going to let this assault stand in the way of her dreams.

Ostovich has also gotten support from her fellow fighters, including her upcoming opponent Paige VanZant. The fact that everyone is rallying around Rachael during this difficult time in her life has obviously not been noticed by Dana White.

A post shared by Paige VanZant (@paigevanzant) on Nov 27, 2018 at 2:27pm PST

“FIGHT IS STILL ON!!! I couldn’t be more grateful [Rachael Ostovich]. Yes we are going to war with each other in the cage, but I stand by her side with her ongoing battle at home. Let’s put on a fight and show these people how strong we are. #GirlPower #UFC” -Paige VanZant

The UFC has been known for questionable practices with their fighters, including low pay, a ranking system that doesn’t make sense, and allowing fights to take place based on popularity instead of skill. The decision to have Greg Hardy make his UFC debut on a card that is featuring a fighter who was the victim of domestic violence less than a month ago is, in my opinion, one of the most tasteless decisions Dana and company have made. With the Brooklyn card 6 weeks away, I understand the need to book fights since, as of today, there are only 5 fights booked for the event. But I have to question the thought process behind the decision to have Greg Hardy make his debut on this particular card. Anytime that Greg Hardy would’ve made his debut would have been controversial.

Hardy was convicted of domestic violence during a bench trial in 2014. After the conviction, Hardy filed an appeal and requested a jury trial. During that time, his ex-girlfriend became uncooperative and the case was dismissed. It is rumored that they reached a financial settlement and the charge was later expunged from Hardy’s record. In 2015, the disturbing images of the injuries sustained by Hardy’s ex-girlfriend became public. Hardy has not shown remorse for his actions. He was eventually not re-signed by the Dallas Cowboys and he decided to start an MMA career in 2016.

Hardy made his professional MMA debut in June 2018 during Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. He is currently 3-0 in his professional MMA career.

At the time of this article, it has been approximately 16 hours since the UFC has announced that Greg Hardy would be making his UFC debut in Brooklyn and Dana White has not spoken about the controversy of having a convicted domestic abuser fight on the same card as a recent domestic violence victim. Although the entire Brooklyn card doesn’t look great on paper, I hate to think that Dana White and the UFC would purposely make this decision to stir up controversy. I wouldn’t put it past Dana, but I would hope that the UFC PR department would step in and advise him that this decision is absolutely tasteless.

I have been a UFC fan for a while and I have stuck by the company through the all of their most recent controversy including the bus incident in Brooklyn, all of the Jon Jones situations, and the fight at UFC 229. The fact that Dana White, who is the father of a teenage daughter, lacks enough empathy that he would knowingly allow this fight to be on the same fight card as the Ostovich fight is disgusting. The UFC seems to be going downhill and I am not surprised that fighters are leaving for other promotions. The lack of respect for their fighters, who give their all in the name of making the company successful, is disturbing. At the end of the day, Dana White and company are the ones who call the shots, but the fighters are the ones who make the UFC what it is. It is my hope that Dana opens his eyes and sees what a bad idea it is to have Greg Hardy fight on any UFC card, let alone the Brooklyn card.

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A post shared by Rachael Ostovich (@rachaelostovich) on Dec 4, 2018 at 1:11pm PST

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