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Dan Hardy vents on slap fighting, responds to Dana White: ‘I don’t give a f*** what you think’

UFC Fight Night Hunt v Oleinik: Open Workouts Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Dan Hardy on Sunday rebutted UFC President Dana White, again denying he mistreated a female employee. The former UFC commentator also took aim at the exec’s slap fighting promotion.

Hardy again accused White of spreading misinformation about the circumstances surrounding his termination and borrowed the UFC president’s words about him at the UFC 280 press conference.

“I don’t give a f***,” Hardy said. “I owe nobody anything. I’m beholden to nobody. This is my microphone, this is my channel. I can say what I like.”

“I might be mouthy, but I’m never going to be mistreating a woman, a female employee — I would never,” Hardy added. “Anyone that’s worked with me would know that. Anybody that knows me would know that.”

Hardy, who continues to serve as an MMA analyst for BT Sport and runs the YouTube account Full Reptile, restated his version of the events that led to his departure. He said it was the result of a confrontation with the female employee — which he said was not veteran broadcasters Megan Olivi or Laura Sanko — over withheld promotional work after multiple complaints about her work ethic to other UFC employees. He accused the promotion of trying to damage his brand on the way out and admitted the experience had left him bitter, the word White used to describe him while responding to an accusation that the UFC staged a video at UFC on ABC 1 to express concern for a fighter’s head trauma.

“So you ask me if I’m bitter, yeah, I’m probably a little bit bitter, but ultimately what I wanted to do is let you guys know that I see the game that’s been played,” he said. “Mistreating a woman? Unbelievable. It was a colleague of mine that I had known and had been working with as a fighter and as an ambassador for the UFC for probably 12, 15 years.

“To this day, I’m constantly hearing about it how obstructive and difficult she is to work with,” Hardy said. “I’m not making this up. People know this. There’s a lot of people listening right now who know exactly who this person is, and they could vouch for me, but they can’t vouch for me, because if you speak out, your media credentials are gone. You don’t get access. They’ll attack your sponsors. They’ll do whatever they can do maintain control.”

White dismissed Hardy’s allegation that his being “mic’d up” was part of the staging, noting the promotion was shooting a documentary — a behind-the-scenes look at “Fight Island” — that required he wear a microphone.

Hardy agreed with the exec that the concern for the fighter — Calvin Kattar, who suffered a brutal, five-round decision loss to Max Holloway at the 2021 event — was valid and that the fight should have been stopped. But the episode was contradicted by other actions the promotion has or hasn’t taken when overseeing its fighters under contract.

After working behind the scenes and then fighting with the promotion from an outsider’s perspective, Hardy said he’d given up trying to be diplomatic.

“There’s a lot of bulls*** in this sport, a lot of bulls*** in this industry,” he said. “Unfortunately, corporation has taken over, and I am not a corporation person. I’m an MMA nerd that sits in my room and researches. I don’t do all the schmoozing and Prosecco drinking. I can’t f****** stand it. So my relationship to the UFC and anything else is irrelevant to me, because I’ve rediscovered my love of martial arts. After going through this mire of f****** nonsense, I’ve arrived at this point when I realized that this is where I’m supposed to be.

“There are people in there that I hope and trust would be able to stand up and say the right thing, and constantly, they f****** let me down. Constantly, I see people that should be speaking up and saying, ‘Hang on a minute, that’s not right, that scale didn’t settle. Who are you? You work for the organization, you shouldn’t even be touching the scales.’ I see constantly this nonsense, these shenanigans, this f******, and there’s no reason why I can’t tell you about it any more.”

One of the latest examples of the UFC’s duplicity, Hardy said, was the introduction during this past Saturday’s UFC 280 broadcast of promos for White’s slap fighting league.

“I know what we’ll do,” Hardy joked of White’s concept. “We love our athletes, we care about them so much, let’s start a f****** slap fight league. Let’s trade concussions for cash. I mean, c’mon. And you’re going to advertise that to me while I’m trying to watch MMA, while I’m trying to watch my sport? C’mon. Say one thing, do another. Say one thing, talk some s***, do another. It’s the same pattern, over and over again.”

“How did that become a thing?” Hardy added later. “I wonder, back in the old MMA days, if anybody was watching MMA and feeling like I do about slap fighting now, because I’m sure they did. I had a long conversation with somebody about, ‘Oh it’s this and that, it’s human cockfighting.’ But I can’t, for the life of me, understand the endeavor of slap fighting, aside from to make a bit of cash and get some [followers] for your Instagram. It’s cashing in on f****** brain trauma.”

After a very public back-and-forth, and White’s recent comments, Hardy said he’s written off the UFC and no longer wants to talk about their dramatic past.

“You can say what you like at the press conference,” he said. “I don’t care. I don’t give a f*** what you think either, Dana. I don’t, honestly. I did once, and there are a lot of fighters out there that do give a f*** what you think, but they give a f*** what you think because you’re in control. They wouldn’t look at you on the street if you weren’t in control of the UFC, and certainly not the way you treat people. Jesus. People will wake up one day, they’ll wake up — slowly, people are doing it. And if you have enough thorns in your side, eventually you’re going to bleed out. Don’t ever forget that.”

Below is Hardy’s full video podcast.

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