Much of the talk surrounding the upcoming UFC on ESPN+ 1 fight card — which is set to pop off this Saturday (Jan. 19, 2019) in Brooklyn , N.Y. — has been the debut of Greg Hardy, which will be a co-main event slot against Allen Crowder.
Indeed, the controversial figure simply can’t escape his past after he was embroiled in an ugly domestic violence case a few years ago. And despite how much UFC president Dana White wants everyone to move on, many people simply can not.
And they are under no obligation to do so.
Among Hardy’s biggest critics is longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) journalist Ariel Helwani, who has gone on record on multiple ESPN platforms recently to express his unhappiness with having Hardy get such a big opportunity in his UFC debut. Above all else, however, putting Hardy on the same card as Rachael Ostovich — who was recently involved in a domestic violence case herself — was simply a “tone deaf” decision, according to Helwani.
Not one to hide behind the camera, though, Ariel came face-to-face with Hardy earlier today (Jan. 17, 2019) in Brooklyn during a media day to talk about — among other things — his issues with him fighting on such a historic card.
This is what Hardy had to say.
“I would say two things, it’s a two-fold answer. One, you would not be where you are now if you were shooting for low-level journalism. The only way to get there is to shoot for the stars. So I encourage everybody out there to shoot for the stars,” said Hardy.
“Opportunities come and you have to take them. That’s the only thing that I am doing. And the other answer is, God bless you, brother. I would be just like everybody you’re talking about that wants to hate me or throw me away as a human being and devalue me and act like I don’t have worth if I sat here and said I’m upset with you because you have an opinion.”
“You are allowed to have an opinion and that should not affect how I feel about you because you have done no wrong to me man. You’re awesome,” he concluded.
One person who does take issue is UFC president Dana White, who didn’t take too kindly to Helwani’s criticism of the former NFL defensive end.
Though that battle has been on-going for years now.
Nevertheless, Hardy added that he hopes the time will come that he no longer has to keep answering the same questions about his past, and says the 2019 version of himself is here to stay and is determined to prove that the opportunities he’s getting on the big stage are warranted.
To see Hardy’s full interview click play in the embedded video player below: