CLOSEraiders waive qb christian hackenberg three weeks after trading for him - Greg Hardy's UFC opportunity isn't about redemption – it's about money

Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy knocked out Austin Lane to win his pro MMA debut Tuesday and is now signing with the UFC.
Time

There was a telling moment in the pre-fight hype package that ran on UFC Fight Pass just prior to Greg Hardy’s Tuesday evening victory on Dana White’s Contender Series.

While trying to allude to his “checkered past” without explicitly naming it, producers showed us clips of Hardy (1-0) walking up the steps to the courthouse while he lamented the loss of his NFL career in a voiceover.

“The worst day of my life was when all that was taken away,” Hardy said, before catching himself. “Or, when I gave it away. And I just had to sit on the side and watch everybody entertain and make people happy and do the things that I wanted to do but couldn’t do anymore.”

See what happened there? The whole narrative just changed.

Instead of his NFL exit being a story about how Hardy was effectively run out of the league after a domestic violence arrest and conviction (which was subsequently overturned on appeal, when the victim couldn’t be located to testify) it became a sad tale of woe in which a promising young athlete lost his chance to bring joy to millions.

MORE:Hardy willing to face criticism while he chases UFC glory

This seems to be the version of the story that the UFC is intent on pitching. When pressed about his decision to include Hardy in the fight series that bears his name, UFC President Dana White has tried two routes, sometimes more or less simultaneously: 1) Hardy doesn’t actually have a domestic violence conviction on his record, thanks to the appeal, and 2) Everybody deserves a second chance.

These are incompatible arguments. The first argues that he’s essentially not guilty, while the second argues that even the guilty are still deserving of redemption. Those don’t work together. If you’re the promoter, you’ve got to pick a lane here.

By the time Tuesday’s event rolled around, White seemed to have settled on a path.

“People always make mistakes, and the thing about making mistakes is, how do you recover from that? How do you act after you’ve done something bad?” White said. “This guy has paid his dues, and like I said, he hit rock bottom. He built himself back up, he’s going out there, and he’s fighting in these amateur fights where he doesn’t get paid. Now he came here, and I think he made $10,000 and $10,000. He’s working his way back up the ladder. He’s doing the right things. He’s off drugs, he’s off alcohol, and he’s trying to change his life.”

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