Greg Hardy To Make His Professional MMA Debut On Dana White's Contender Series

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MMAFighting- A former NFL All-Pro with a controversial past will get a crack at fighting in the UFC.

Greg Hardy will make his professional mixed martial arts debut on June 12 in a heavyweight matchup against Brandon Sayles on a Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series event in Las Vegas. MMA Fighting confirmed an initial report by MMA Today.

Hardy, who trains with American Top Team, has a 3-0 record as an amateur, with all three victories coming by way of knockout in under two minutes.

Sayles (5-1), who is based in Ft. Benning, GA, has won three straight fights, with his only career loss being a 2012 decision to former UFC and Bellator competitor Chase Gormley.

Hardy played six years in the NFL, earning a Pro Bowl berth in 2013 as a defensive end with the Carolina Panthers. He was arrested on charges of domestic violence in 2014 and for cocaine possession in 2016.

You know, after Conor McGregor’s dolly-through-the-bus-window stunt this month (make sure you buy a t-shirt commemorating the event), I figured the UFC would go above and beyond to dispel that representation of their brand immediately. Multiple fighters on press tours mentioned how hard they worked to help the Ultimate Fighting Championship lose the stigma that its roster was made up of thugs, Dana White publicly trashed Conor McGregor, and nobody within the organization took the Irishman’s side. Smart! With important upcoming television negotiations approaching rapidly, and FOX reportedly losing interest in renewing, the UFC should be doing everything in their power to appear as goody-two-shoes as they could.

…and then they went and signed Greg Hardy.

He seems like a pretty legit fighter, unsurprisingly, I’ll admit that. He’s 3-0 on the amateur circuit with three knockouts in the very first round, trains at American Top Team, and had experience with his fists long before he even thought about competing in the octagon, but this just seems a bit silly of the UFC, yeah? Short term, I’m sure Hardy will be great for ratings. Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender series will get the biggest bump in the series’ history and mainstream outlets will be talking all about his debut. Long term though, is Greg Hardy really worth jeopardizing television deals and sponsorships prior to him even proving if he could hang on a professional level? I feel like the answer is no, personally, but I’ll be watching on June 12th (hoping for him to get murdered in the cage) so I suppose their mission is already accomplished. What do I know, anyway?