In one of the more disturbing MMA news stories in recent memory, UFC Welterweight Mike Perry has fallen into the spotlight due to his ex-wife coming forward to accuse him of domestic abuse.
UFC President Dana White once stated that “you don’t bounce back from putting your hands on a woman”. But despite his attempts at ensuring his promotion has a zero-tolerance policy towards any fighter who perpetrates domestic violence, there have still been plenty of UFC fighters involved in these kinds of scandals.
A statistic unearthed by HBO Sports in 2015 suggested that the amount of domestic violence arrests involving MMA fighters is more than double the average national rate in the US. And it’s likely that Mike Perry won’t be the only fighter embroiled in this kind of controversy going forward.
With that in mind, here are 5 UFC fighters who were caught up in domestic abuse scandals.
#1 Mike Perry
We may as well begin with the most recent domestic abuse scandal involving a UFC fighter, in this case Welterweight contender Mike Perry. An outspoken, entertaining fighter, prior to this week, Perry’s name had only been in the news for a bizarre reason.
That was all fun and games, but the accusations that have been levelled at ‘Platinum’ this week most certainly are not. According to Perry’s ex-wife Danielle Nickerson, the Welterweight became violent with her back in February, an incident that eventually led her to leave the fighter. The couple have since divorced.
The accusations are disturbing to say the least. According to Nickerson, Perry always had a temper, but was never violent until he went on a “horrible downward spiral” following his loss to Geoff Neal in December 2019.
Nickerson has gone onto state that Perry assaulted her with what she describes as “ground-and-pound” until she was able to flee from him with the help of Perry’s mother.
Perry has gone on record to state a full denial of the incident, but the evidence – including an audio clip of a 911 call made by his mother which states that he was “violent” – appears to be damning.
As of the time of writing, no charges have been levelled against Perry. In fact, Nickerson was denied a protective order against the Welterweight in July, around the same time that Perry was forced to seek treatment for alcohol dependency. However, in the most recent report, she has claimed that she withheld details in order to prevent Perry’s career from being ruined.
Quite where this story will go next is anyone’s guess, but it’s safe to say that we probably haven’t heard the last of it yet.
#2 Greg Hardy
As was previously mentioned, UFC President Dana White has always spoken out vehemently about fighters involved in domestic abuse scandals, essentially promising a zero-tolerance policy. However, many observers have scoffed at these claims, and most point at the 2018 signing of hulking Heavyweight Greg Hardy as evidence that they aren’t exactly true.
A former NFL player with the Carolina Panthers, Hardy was inked by the UFC following two wins on Dana White’s Contender Series and has since gone 3-1-1 in the promotion. However, even before he’d made his full UFC debut, controversy surrounded ‘The Prince of War’ due to his murky past.
In 2014, Hardy was arrested for assault after being accused of attacking and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend. Reportedly, the Heavyweight threw her around and then placed his hands around her throat.
Despite denying the accusations, Hardy was convicted on two accounts of domestic violence – only to appeal the sentence and eventually have the charges expunged from his record. Reportedly, the reason for this expunging was that his ex-girlfriend failed to appear in court to give her testimony.
While the NFL were willing to wash their hands of Hardy – he was suspended for 10 games and then found himself without a team when the Dallas Cowboys opted not to re-sign him – the same could not be said for the UFC.
Instead, White himself went against his own claims by stating that “everybody deserves a second chance”, basically defending the decision because Hardy had not actually been sentenced.
Either way, while Hardy has not become embroiled in any further out-of-cage controversy since joining the UFC, it’s clear from the negative reaction he receives from fans that his past has not yet been forgotten.