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Morning Report: Greg Hardy explains why people should give him a chance despite domestic violence history

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Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

On Tuesday night, former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy with compete on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series for a chance to earn a UFC contract. It’s an opportunity that has drawn criticism due to Hardy’s personal history, having been functionally drummed out of the NFL due to domestic violence charges. Now, embarking on a new career - potentially in the UFC - Hardy has a message for fans who are concerned about his past: give me a chance to show you who I am.

“Get to know me first,” Hardy told reporters at a media scrum on Monday (video courtesy of MMAJunkie. “Meet me would be a good start. Talk to me, and give me the opportunity that you would give anybody else. Look forward to watching me on TV. Come out and enjoy the event - whether it’s to see me get beat up or to see me excel - and then make a decision or make your opinion and I’ll respect it as a human being. That’s honestly where I have to come from on any platform these days because that’s the reality that I have to live in.”

In 2014, Hardy was arrested for allegedly assaulting a former girlfriend and communicating threats against her life. He was convicted of domestic violence but after an appeal the charges were eventually expunged from his record; however, the damage to Hardy’s career was done. The former All-Pro was suspended 10 games for violating the NFL’s conduct policy after an internal investigation concluded that Hardy had used physical force on four occasions with the victim. An arbiter reduced the suspension down to four games but Hardy was never able to regain the form he once had and remained unsigned after the 2015 NFL season. Hardy says that part of his life is over now though and he wants to move forward in MMA, and that means not shying away form his checkered past and accepting that some people will always judge him for it.

“I’m unafraid [to talk about it],” Hardy said. “I don’t know if everybody’s familiar with my history, but I’ve never been afraid to talk, or be in the spotlight. This is what I do. This is who I am. I was born to compete, I was born to be here. I put in the work, I work harder than everybody else, and I try to just put my best foot forward and do it for my team and do it for everybody that helped me get here.

“Honestly it’s just the burden that comes with it. Who am I to question fans? These are the people that pay my salary so they have the right to have opinions, they have the right to be who they are. Me being biased towards those people would be me being exactly who they think I am and honestly, that’s not who I am. . .

“There’s a whole lot of levels of understanding when you don’t know a person, when you don’t know any of the facts. But I do understand people do have their own opinions and if you don’t respect people’s opinions, that’s just Hitler-esque.”

Hardy began competing in MMA in 2017, training at the renowned American Top Team gym. He has quickly amassed a 3-0 amateur record with a collective fight time of two minutes and twenty two seconds. Tonight will mark his professional debut and though he is likely getting this opportunity so early in his career because he’s famous, he wants to prove to all the other fighters that he also deserves it, and that’s an opportunity he’s excited for.

“You’ve got to go through the steps and you’ve got to put in the work. In my former profession, that’s how you gain respect. You take your steps, you don’t skip through and try to go straight to the top, that’s just disrespectful. I want to come in and I want to show the fighters and the institution that I’m here to earn it and work my way up. I’m not here to say my name is Greg Hardy and I deserve a shot, or I’m not trying to ‘CM Punk’ my way into the situation. I don’t think I should be there because of my name. I want people to know that I should be there because they’ve seen the fights, they’ve seen the product and there is no guessing game. . .

“I am here because Dana White is an angel, a saint that gave me the opportunity to come and put my best foot forward. I honestly couldn’t begin to explain why, I can only just express my appreciation and my gratitude for the opportunity to be here and show what kind of athlete I am.”

Hardy faces Austen Lane, also a former NFL defensive lineman, in the debut event of season two of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series tonight on FightPass.


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VIDEO STEW

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LISTEN UP

The MMA Hour. Ariel’s final MMA Hour feature EIGHTEEN of the biggest names in MMA.

Anik & Florian. Recapping UFC 225 and an interview with Curtis Blaydes.


SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

Anik apologizing to Bisping.

...

A post shared by Jon Anik (@jon_anik) on

RDA still motivated.

Rashad.

At one time FIGHTING was bigger than LIFE. Now LIFE is bigger than FIGHTING. It was easy to FIGHT for me because I came into this world raising hell FIGHTING. Then LIFE over time swaddled me like a parent does a screaming child and calmed me until I could see there was nothing to scream about. LIFE reveals to us all one day its beauty and its GRACE. Part of its beauty and GRACE is SURRENDER. Not SURRENDER in the way we think but a yielding nature that allows LIFE'S true beauty to be seen without non attachment. Only through non attachment can we truly see the beauty of LIFE and its random but beautiful balance. Our attachments in LIFE gives us the pain that make LIFE unbearable at times. Those attachments keeps us all pretending to some degree even though we are scared to death of what tomorrow can bring. I am at peace at what happened last night. I am a true FIGHTER at heart and there is no greater peace than when I get a chance to bare my soul for millions to see. 24 times I was successful and I experienced heights I never would've dreamed were possible and 8 times I came up short. Those 8 times I came up short laid the true seeds of growth as a person. In each one of my defeats I learned more about LIFE which made me into the person I was destined to be. I thank my opponent Anthony Smith for giving me yet another chance to grow as a person. As for my future I do not know where I will go from here but I never did know anyways. I was just making it up as I went along. I joke but in reality that is the truth. In actuality none of us know what is ahead from one moment to the next. We all just hope it's something we want. Sometimes it is something we want and some times it isn't. But the secret in LIFE is accepting both as if you chose them. Which is true Alchemy. In the End what will be will be because that is all LIFE has ever been. Everything else is an illusion of the mind. I am well and I am beyond blessed for those of you waiting to text to me and don't know what to say.. (the first text is always awkward after someone has been ko'd). "Do I say good job, nice try, I love you or everything will be ok" Have a blessed day. @ryanloco

A post shared by Suga Rashad Evans (@sugarashadevans) on

Rematch.

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#goals.

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Beef.

Plans.

Congrats!


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

N/A.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

2007: Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout had the first of their trilogy bouts with Fisher winning a unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 10. This event also saw the UFC debut of Anthony Johnson who knocked out Chad Reiner in 13 seconds.

2009: Lyman Good became the inaugural Bellator welterweight champion when he stopped Omar De La Cruz with punches at Bellator 11.

2010: Chuck Liddell fought for the last time - at least, so far - getting knocked out by Rich Franklin at UFC 115.


FINAL THOUGHTS

I hope y’all enjoyed Ariel’s final MMA Hour. Definitely the end of an era around here and we’re all gonna miss him. He’s the hardest working person in the business and that’s no exaggeration. He’s gonna kill it at ESPN.

Meanwhile, we’re pressing on here at MMAFighting and we’ll continue to bring you the best MMA coverage in the world. Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

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