Editor’s note: This story was originally published on May 10 with a headline and a specific passage that was insensitive to victims of domestic violence in general, and specifically to the alleged victim of Greg Hardy. The wording in those parts of the post have been changed to better reflect our values and understanding of this incredibly serious issue. The piece was never intended to celebrate Hardy or make light of domestic violence. Quite the opposite. Our intention was to remind readers of the heinous violence Hardy allegedly committed against his ex-girlfriend in 2014 — something that should continue to overshadow any meaningless MMA victory he might have. We understand that the wording in the original piece did not accomplish this and was hurtful to many. For this, we sincerely apologize.
On the same night that North American sports were let out of quarantine, alleged domestic abuser Greg Hardy demonstrated his deceptively improving striking game in the Octagon.
Hardy blasted a mostly complacent Yorgan de Castro at UFC 249, outpointing the formerly undefeated fighter.
In 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his then-girlfriend Nicole Holder and sentenced to 18 months probation. The conviction was later dismissed on appeal after Holder refused to testify.
Competing in a big-time MMA fight the night after former middleweight contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza tested positive for COVID-19, Hardy demonstrated significant growth as a mixed martial artist at UFC 249. Rather than storming out the gate and firing off the moves that first put him on Jerry Jones’ radar, Hardy executed a new, patient approach. He actually looked like an MMA fighter for once and not an out of control maniac.
Hardy fell behind early in the fight, suffering significant damage to his lead left leg. Still inexperienced, Hardy opted to press forward and eat shots in the orthodox stance rather than switch stances or opt for any of the other martial arts disciplines. Hardy essentially outlasted de Castro’s best efforts, implementing his significant height and reach advantage to earn the win with strikes from the perimeter.
Discussing his history as an asthmatic during fight week — in 2019, Hardy was stripped of a win by the Massachusetts Athletic Commission for the use of an inhaler in between rounds — Hardy expressed some fear of competing in the Octagon while most of the country remains in lockdown directly related to the Coronavirus.
Early in the fight, de Castro found his range, connecting with close range hooks to stun the imposing Hardy. However, Hardy, who has ironically relabeled himself as the “Prince of War” during this second act as an MMA fighter, found the resolve to withstand the barrage and fight back.
Aside from a swollen and damaged left leg, Hardy controlled the fight. He was more dominant inside the Octagon against de Castro than he was on the line of scrimmage for the Carolina Panthers, and later the Cowboys after Jerry Jones temporarily resuscitated the DE’s career after allegedly beating Holder.
The win is Hardy’s third inside the Octagon, and first by decision.