Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy, who has been sidelined with a rare heart condition, has a new gig with the UFC. He's going to be the color commentator for six UFC Fight Night events to be screened exclusively on UFC FIGHT PASS, the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization announced on Friday.
Hardy may have stumbled in trying to wrest the title away from Georges St-Pierre at UFC 111 in March 2010, but he's long been a fan favorite and a charismatic character with a magnetic personality. Hardy has a MMA record of 25-10, 1NC, but is currently off the active roster having been diagnosed with a rare heart condition a year ago. Hardy, 31, continues to train in MMA, but is currently focused on his new position within the UFC.
Hardy will debut in his new role at UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa on March 8, when he will be calling the action at the same O2 Arena in London where he twice competed as a UFC welterweight contender.
“I’m very excited to be putting on the headset for the UFC,” said Hardy on Friday. “I’ve got the same nerves and butterflies that I had when I first signed for the company as a fighter back in 2008. I think I can bring a great perspective to the color commentator’s role. Researching and breaking down UFC fighters and fights is what I’ve been doing for over 10 years now, only now I am not just concentrating on my own division, but every division.
“I think I bring a different perspective to the role. Not only have I fought and trained with some of the best fighters in the world, I think I’ve had one of the most varied careers in the history of the UFC.
“I’ve packed a lot of experience into my 10 fights in the UFC, and I’m looking forward to sharing that experience and insight with the fans.”
Hardy wasn't just automatically handed the new role fully gift-wrapped with a bow on top. UFC Chief Content Officer Marshall Zelaznik said that Hardy had to go through an audition process, earning his spot Octagonside.
“Dan is extremely popular among our fans, and we are very excited that he will be bringing his wealth of experience to six of the upcoming 2014 UFC FIGHT PASS Fight Nights,” said Zelaznik.
“I’d like to add that, as popular as Dan is, he auditioned for the position. And he blew us away with his audition and got the job because he is the best candidate. He has a unique perspective and style of delivery which I know UFC FIGHT PASS subscribers will enjoy.”
Hardy will be part of an all-British announcing team for the six exclusive UFC FIGHT PASS events which will emanate from the British Isles, mainland Europe, and the Middle East.
Joining Hardy at the broadcast table will be play-by-play broadcaster John Gooden, while Andy Friedlander will be introducing fighters, serving as the Octagon announcer.
Gooden has earned his reputation on the European mixed martial arts circuit as an insightful play-by-play man and television pundit. Hailing from Greater London, he has competed at a national level in both judo and karate and trained for the last decade in Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Gooden will now call mixed martial arts events exclusively for the UFC.
Friedlander brings a wealth of experience to his role as the voice of the Octagon. He has served as the major event emcee at the famed 90,000 seater Wembley Stadium in London for over a decade, hosting over 100 globally televised soccer matches including two UEFA Champions League finals.
UFC Fight Pass is now available in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. It will be rolled out in additional markets throughout 2014. Content will vary country to country according to local television blackout rules.