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Dan Hardy wants release from UFC fight contract

Dan Hardy
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

No longer an analyst for the UFC, Dan Hardy now hopes to cut professional ties with the promotion entirely.

Hardy’s time as a UFC commentator came to an end this past March, when it was reported that the promotion would no longer be using him in that capacity after he had a “disagreement” with an employee. The one-time welterweight title contender later admitted that he regretted the miscommunication between him and the UFC, though he does not regret his recent public clash with referee Herb Dean.

With Hardy not welcome at UFC events for the time being, he told Submission Radio that he is seeking to also be released from his fight contract so that he can be free to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

“The only thing that’s happened is I’ve asked two different people for my release from the UFC,” Hardy said when asked for an update on his situation. “Because obviously with one contract coming to an end, it would make sense for me to leave with my fight contract as well. So I’m currently trying to get my release from the UFC so then I can start looking at other places.

“I’ve got a few ideas and a few options that I’d like to consider. But it’s just getting a hold of someone, I might have to recruit Joshua Fabia to get someone’s attention at some point.”

Hardy’s mention of Fabia is a reference to the controversial guru who has formed a close and heavily-scrutinized relationship with longtime UFC veteran Diego Sanchez. Fabia has become a key figure in Sanchez’s career, which recently hit a major bump when the Ultimate Fighter 1 champion was removed from a scheduled bout with Donald Cerrone and subsequently released from the promotion.

Sanchez is one of several fighters that Hardy has mentioned in recent years for a possible comeback fight (Hardy said he has exchanged messages with Sanchez, but doesn’t have a great read on what exactly is going on with him), though he doesn’t believe that’s a fight the matchmakers would have been interested in even when he and Sanchez were both still available for the UFC. Should he step into the octagon again, Hardy worries that he’d be used as a stepping stone.

“I think even if it got to the stage where I could get the UFC to give me an opponent, it’s not going to be one of the ones I want,” Hardy said. “They’re not matching veterans with veterans anymore. They’re matching veterans with the new guys coming up so they can build the next name and I’m not interested in fighting someone that nobody knows.

“‘Cowboy,’ Matt Brown, they would never in a million years give me the Nick Diaz fight. They would use Nick Diaz to build somebody else up. I just don’t want to be in that situation. Plus, my fight contract is, what, eight years old? So you can imagine the numbers on it, it’s rather embarrassing.”

Given that he’s still under UFC contract as a fighter, Hardy cannot negotiate with other promotions as of yet. However, he isn’t shy about wanting to fulfill his dream of competing overseas again after previously having fought in his native England as well as Japan and the Netherlands.

“I’d love to fight in Japan,” Hardy said. “I’ve always been a fan of Japan. RIZIN, ONE Championship are doing amazing things. I actually think that would be a great place for Diego to go. They’ve got Shinya Aoki floating around there that has, what, 47 wins on his record? I’d like to see Diego against Aoki, that would be an interesting one.

“But just as soon as that UFC door closed, so many other doors opened, and different options, not even just MMA. I’ve got other things I would consider as well. The world’s much bigger than I actually realized, I think, so now I’m starting to look at these other organizations, and different weight classes as well. I could jump into some of these at middleweight and light heavyweight and fancy my chances. We’ll see what happens.”

Watch Hardy’s interview with Submission Radio below, where he also breaks down the big fights from this Saturday’s UFC 262 event.

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