Nowadays in MMA one of the biggest topics you hear about within the world of the media, is who is getting signed today by the UFC? or Bellator? etc. Within this topic there is another layer, which is who is the next “big name” to fight in MMA? Well if you follow the NFL, then you will know about Greg Hardy in MMA.
For those of you that don’t know, Greg Hardy is a a former Pro-Bowl defensive end for the Carolina Panthers/Dallas cowboys, and was generally considered a talented player, with great natural athletic gifts.
Standing at 6 Ft 3″ and weighing over 270 pounds, some fast twitch muscle, excellent strength and being pretty agile/fleet of foot is exactly what I mean by natural athletic gifts.
This former NFL player announced in late 2016, that he is starting to transition into MMA. Currently still in his athletic prime at 28 years old, this is something that a lot of MMA and NFL fans are wanting to see happen.
Now some of you real hardcore MMA fans, may have a similar opinion to the likes of Brock Lesnar, CM Punk or James Tony trying MMA, meaning it might give you a bad taste in your mouth, that this sportsmen/entertainer is getting a big opportunity ahead of lesser known but technically more skilled fighters on the underground MMA scene.
As a martial arts purist I understand and agree with this perspective, but we all have to accept the way the UFC and most large MMA promotions in general are starting to structure a lot of their fight cards – because a big recognisable household name sells tickets bottom line, no matter who they are.
But Hardy has been training at ATT (American Top Team) for the past year or so, training with the likes of Junior Dos Santos, Antonio Silva and others on a regular basis – so bottom line he is training with some of the best, so his skills will be improving quickly.
Here’s a video where Hardy discusses his transition to MMA on the MMA Hour:
A History of Violence.
Now it has to be noted, that Greg Hardy has a an abusive history, which came to light at the end of his NFL run, and is why he remained an unsigned free agent who couldn’t get a new contract with any NFL team.
On June 15th 2014 Hardy was convicted by a judge, as being guilty of assaulting a female and communicating threats.
When pictures were also released of the damage caused to the victim in the case, it sparked a huge uproar in the NFL world, where no team wanted anything to do with signing Hardy, obviously as the negative media surrounding him at the time is something that no professional team wanted to deal with.
I wont go in to much more detail then that, as you can do your own research if you want to find more dirt on him, but when he announced at the end of 2016 that he was transitioning to MMA – its fair to say that there are many NFL fans that will tune in to any MMA event with Greg Hardy on the card just to get the chance to see him get beaten up.
Some MMA fans have even accused Hardy of not genuinely wanting to be an MMA fighter, but rather just trying to use his name to get into the sport because no NFL team wanted him anymore.
But with that being said, lets look at where we go from here.
Can he change his ways?
Well this is the question that some MMA fans will question, most will not care – but to me I think there is a potentially interesting narrative here so let me explain.
As Hardy’s new MMA agent Malki Kawa said on the MMA Hour, martial arts can be an amazing door way to genuine self-change and improvement of oneself.
Hardy himself since beginning to train MMA has already been quoted as saying:
“I would say this helps me channel everything. It helps me just come back down to Earth, be humble, because these are machines that I see everyday. I get choked out, punched in the face, and laid out on the mat daily, and that’s not something that a guy my size and my stature with my history has every come across, It’s a humbling experience”
This statement has proved to me that Hardy has his mind in the right place, that he has perhaps been “soul searching” and its possible that with dedication, self-will and an expanding understanding of honour, there could be light at the end of the tunnel for Hardy.
If he does indeed make himself a better person as a result of this training, as well as improving his martial arts skills to become at least a solid MMA fighter, then that would be a fascinating story worthy of a Hollywood film in my eyes – but if we only get 50% of that deal, then as MMA fans we have to take what we can get.
Time will tell, but here’s a clip of him working on some pads at ATT –
Its gona be a big deal whoever signs him.
Now the question is after all the training he is currently going through, where will his first pro MMA fight be? What promotion will he sign for?
In the NFL teams don’t want you if you have dirt on you, its similar in most mainstream sports honestly – but MMA is another beast entirely, and every promoter right now will always want to sign a guy if he has a big name, no matter how bad his past is, because at the end of the day negative attention is still attention that converts into ticket sales – controversy sells.
In fact MMA is one of the few sports in the world, where having a lot of negative media attention can almost be sought after by some promoters, purely because the whole idea of “wanting to see the bully get beaten up” is the selling point basis of some of the biggest fight cards in history – it is connected to our human nature to want to see extreme justice done to those that are deemed as bad.
So Greg Hardy in MMA is a big topic, very controversial, and whoever he signs with it will be a big deal, and you can be sure you will get all the updates on that situation right here at the MMAGateway.
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See you in a bit!