The former Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series contender is also a former NFL player and played defense for the Carolina Panthers from 2010 to 2014 and Dallas Cowboys in 2015.
Greg Hardy changed his profession and started training to pursue a career in mixed martial arts in 2016. In his last outing at UFC 249 in May, Greg Hardy defeated Yorgan De Castro via unanimous decision. Before that, he dropped a decision against Alexander Volkov at UFC Fight Night 163, making it his second defeat in UFC.
Throughout his professional football and MMA career, Greg Hardy has made headlines for both positive and negative reasons.
Ahead of his Fight Night bout with Maurice Greene on October 31, let’s take a look at 5 things fans need to know about the 32-year-old UFC Heavyweight.
#5 Greg Hardy could have become a Basketball player or a Track & Field athlete
Greg Hardy was a three-sport letterman during his school days at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis, Tennessee, and later at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) where he joined with a football scholarship. His performance in football, basketball, and track earned him a three-star prospect by Rivals, a popular sports news website that focuses on college sports.
He led his team to State Championship in the year 2004 as a junior. He was one of the most promising potential picks for the 2009 NFL Draft, but Greg Hardy returned to Ole Miss for a senior season.
Hardy was an honorable all-state mention as a junior in basketball. He held several records in Track & Field, such as a 47 ft 6 inches top-throw in shot-put, a 4.8-second 40-yard sprint, and a 28-inch vertical jump. As a sophomore, he finished the 200-meter sprint in just 24:04 seconds.
Clearly, Greg Hardy could have easily chosen either of the other two sports and become successful. However, football was always his main sport and that is what he focused on in his professional career.
Greg Hardy was the top prospect for the 2010 NFL Draft, but injuries and few other issues caused his draft stock to fall. He was picked by Carolina Panthers in the sixth round.
#4 Greg Hardy had two violent vehicular accidents
On his second year with the Carolina Panthers, Greg Hardy missed two weeks of training camp owing to a motorcycle accident that was, in Greg Hardy’s own words, a near-death experience. The left side of his body was badly skinned and injured as he crashed his 2008 Kawasaki Ninja motorbike on the back of a car while driving on a wet Interstate-40 outside of Knoxville.
Greg Hardy was treated for abrasions on his left arm and foot at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. Authorities said that no alcohol was involved in the accident, but Hardy was driving without a license. He was charged with three other violations – failure to exercise control, failure to yield, and following too closely.
Before being taken to the hospital and treated for his injuries, Hardy thought he was soon going to breathe his last.
“I thought I was going to be dead. But I got to the hospital, took some X-rays and they said I was good.”
Hardy was reportedly wearing a helmet on the ride, but it split open when he hit the asphalt.
However, this was not the first time Hardy was involved in a car crash. In 2009, he was involved in a car accident along with his then-teammate Dexter McCluster. The accident aggravated an already existing foot injury he had in his right leg.
Greg Hardy suffered a broken bone in his right foot the year before and underwent surgery, for which he missed three junior year games but still managed to record 18 tackles and 8.5 sacks. Few months before the car accident in June next year, Hardy underwent a second surgery for the injury during the off-season.
#3 Greg Hardy claimed his alma mater was Hogwarts
On a Sunday Night Football introduction in December 2013, Greg Hardy called himself the ‘Kraken’, a mythical sea creature originally from Norse folklore with large tentacles, made popular by the Disney franchise, Pirates of the Caribbean.
Not only did Greg Hardy introduced himself as the Kraken, but he also said that his alma mater was Hogwarts, the School of Magic from J. K. Rowling’s wildly popular Harry Potter book series.
In a media interaction following the incident, when the reporters asked why he came up with such an introduction, Greg Hardy said he could do whatever he wanted.
“I can do whatever I want. I'm The Kraken. ... If you feel you can ask The Kraken personally where he goes to school, and prove me wrong, then I feel like I'll change it.”
When one of the reporters asked him if he is calling his actual alma mater, University of Mississippi, to be Hogwarts, Hardy said that was not the case.
“No, that's not where I said I went. Hardy went to Ole Miss.”
Quite obviously, Greg Hardy’s explanations were just as confusing to everyone as were his actions.
#2 Greg Hardy was arrested on domestic violence charges
In a turn of events that would eventually bring an end to his NFL career, Greg Hardy was arrested on charges of assaulting and verbally threatening an ex-girlfriend. Hardy was initially sentenced to 18 months’ probation, and suspended 60 days of prison time. But when Hardy appealed the decision and requested a jury trial, the victim party failed to appear in court.
The prosecutor’s office eventually dropped the charges on account of failing to locate the victim. Several sources reported that a mutual settlement had been reached by both the parties off-court. Despite its low-key conclusion, the trial drew extensive media attention and seemed to have opened up a can of worms for other domestic violence-related cases within the NFL.
Carolina Panthers put him on the exempt list, meaning he was eligible to draw a salary but not allowed to take part in any team activities. He did not play another match for them after this.
Greg Hardy joined Dallas Cowboys as a free agent in March 2015 but was suspended next month as NFL’s own probe into Hardy’s charges brought forward credible evidence that he had engaged in actions that violated the league’s Personal Conduct Policy. Greg Hardy was laid off for 10 games, which was then brought down to four, post-legal negotiations.
Police photograph evidence of the victim’s bruise marks and injuries were made public by media in November 2015 a day after his charges were expunged from his record.
#1 Greg Hardy lost his first UFC bout via disqualification
Other than his fight against Alexander Volkov, the only other fight Greg Hardy has lost in UFC is his debut bout. Hardy was up against Allen Crowder for his first outing in UFC but ended up getting disqualified for kneeing his opponent right on the temple.
Crowder was down on the ground on his knees when Hardy’s knees made contact with his head, which is an illegal strike in MMA. Referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight for medical attention to Crowder.
Doctors announced him unfit to continue and the bout was ended, announcing Crowder as the default winner by disqualification.
The no-knee strike on an opponent who is down on the mat is a well-known rule in the sport. Debates sparked as to whether Greg Hardy was oblivious to it, being a newcomer to the Octagon.
However, in several interviews following the incident, Greg Hardy clarified that he was aware of the rules. It was an accident that happened in the heat of the moment.
"I was aware of the rule as it stands; I was not aware that that was what was going on. I got deep into the fight, was in the moment, was trying to time it -- and I mistimed it. For that to end my day, man, is a hard pill to swallow, man. And it's a hard way to go down, especially when I wanted to portray a lot of appreciation and show everyone that I'm here to do it the right way, man.”
"This is not how I wanted to do things. And I just hope everybody understands this is not who I am, that it's not something that I would do purposely." (H/t ESPN)