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Dana White open to signing ex-NFL player Greg Hardy to UFC, but only after he gets experience

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

UFC president Dana White isn't willing to close the door on controversial ex-NFL star Greg Hardy one day fighting in the UFC, however he also isn't looking to sign the former Pro Bowl defensive end until Hardy proves he that can actually compete among the world's best.

"I'm one of those guys too who believes that we're all human beings and we all make mistakes," White said Wednesday on FS1's Speak for Yourself. "And when you make a mistake, you pay your penance, whatever it might be, and you should be allowed to make a living and move on in your life. Is he good enough to come into the UFC and fight? I highly doubt it.

"I've been playing football for a couple weeks too, maybe I'll try out for the (New England) Patriots?" White continued, laughing. "It takes a little bit longer than that, but he could fight at one of these small shows. We'll see how he looks, and I don't know."

Hardy, 28, announced Tuesday that he has decided to put his football career on hold as he tests the waters of professional mixed martial arts.

Once a promising defensive star for the Carolina Panthers, Hardy became persona non grata in NFL circles over the last several years due to his troubling history with domestic abuse. In 2014, Hardy was found guilty of assaulting his ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder and sentenced to 18 months probation as well as a suspended 60-day stay in jail. Those charges were subsequently dismissed on appeal, as Holder failed to appear in court for the jury trial, however the alarming details of the case resulted in Hardy going unsigned during the 2016 free agency period.

Following Hardy's MMA announcement, Fox Sports NFL and UFC reporter Jay Glazer called for fight promoters and coaches to effectively blackball Hardy from their gyms, stating that Hardy didn't deserve the "privilege" of competing in the sport because of his past troubles and the general lack of remorse he has shown for them. But on Wednesday, White disagreed with that sentiment, stating that Hardy deserved a second chance as much as anyone.

"I'm not saying he should be welcomed here, but I'm saying I'm a guy who believes that if you make a mistake, your life isn't over, go kill yourself or something," White said. "You made a mistake, you pay for it. When you make mistakes, it's all about how you act from there on out. How do you handle yourself after that and what do you do to fix it."

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