On Tuesday, troubled former NFL star Greg Hardy will get a shot at earning an Ultimate Fighting Championship contract when he faces Austen Lane on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Hardy’s addition to the Series was controversial because of a checkered history with domestic violence. During his tenure in the NFL, Hardy was one of the top pass rushers in football, earning second-team all pro honors in 2013 with the Carolina Panthers after finishing with 15 sacks. However, in July 2014 Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and missed the majority of the season after being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. He was sentenced to 18 months’ probation, but charges from the case were later dropped, and Hardy’s record was expunged.
Hardy was suspended for the first 10 games of the 2015 season as well, but that was later reduced to four games by an arbitrator, and Hardy finished the campaign with the Dallas Cowboys, although he remained a controversial figure throughout the season. He went unsigned as a free agent the following offseason, opening the door for him to transition to an MMA career.
While many in the MMA community have protested Hardy getting the chance to compete on such a prominent stage, the UFC president recently defended the decision.
“First of all, he went through everything the whole legal process,” White said during the UFC 225 post-fight press conference on Saturday. “Went back to football, played for the Panthers, got cut and then moved to Dallas and played and was cut from there. I guess he had a real bad drug and alcohol problem, started getting into MMA, cleaned himself up.
“If you talk to anybody that he trains with, male or female, they say that he’s a very good guy. He’s very humble. Everybody deserves a second chance. The guy was never charged for anything. He was never sentenced or anything like that. So I’m gonna give him a shot.”
Hardy, who trains at American Top Team, has compiled a 3-0 record as an amateur, finishing all of his opponents inside of a round. While Hardy is not guaranteed a UFC contract with a win on the Tuesday Night Contender Series, competitors with the most impressive performances on each edition typically get a shot with the Las Vegas-based promotion.