Former NFL player Greg Hardy isn’t making many fans in his second career as a UFC fighter.
Hardy was loudly booed by UFC fans as he fought a dull three-round fight that was initially ruled a unanimous decision in his favor, only to later be overturned to a no contest because Hardy was seen using an inhaler between rounds, in violation of the rules of mixed martial arts.
Although Hardy claimed after the fight that he had been told using an inhaler was allowed, fighters are expected to know the rules, which say athletes cannot use any type of medication during fights and can consume nothing but water between rounds.
Once among the NFL’s best pass rushers, Hardy became one of the poster boys for the league’s domestic violence problem, and no NFL teams have been interested in his services since his season with the Cowboys in 2015. The UFC, however, has welcomed him with open arms.
Hardy’s opponent, Ben Sosoli, is a novice fighter who has no business in a high-level UFC event. Despite facing an easy opponent, Hardy did not look particularly impressive. For some reason, the UFC keeps matching Hardy up with overmatched opponents who have no chance of beating him. That reason may be ESPN, which televises UFC fights and likes having a former NFL player who’s a recognizable name to sports fans — even if his name is mostly recognized because he’s a pariah in the NFL as a result of that domestic violence case.
But even though Hardy keeps getting easy opponents, he doesn’t always win. He has won two of his four UFC fights by technical knockout in the first round, but he also lost one fight by disqualification and had last night’s no contest. He’ll likely fight again in the UFC soon, likely against another overmatched opponent, likely in a fight ESPN will televise and help promote, and he’s likely to continue hearing the boos from fans who don’t want him in the Octagon any more than NFL fans want him on the field.