Matt Brown on UFC on Fox 7. After an infamous four fight losing skid, he had won two in a row and credited a new outlook and approach to training for his success. Unfortunately, on March 22nd the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) pulled the plug on Hardy's upcoming fight due to a heretofore undiagnosed medical condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. A Wolff heart... or did they.was looking at a career rejuvenation coming into his fight against
MMAjunkie reports that it was in fact the UFC who informed the CSAC that Hardy would not be competing after getting the news of his condition:
CSAC administrator Shilo Wilson said she received Hardy's physical, neurological exam and MRI. But on March 22, she received an email from the UFC that stated the fighter had been pulled from the card "due to medical injury."
While this does not mean that Hardy would have been able to compete if the UFC hadn't pulled him, they gave a more measured response to Hardy's claims that the condition did not impair his physical abilities in any way:
CSAC Executive Officer Andy Foster said the fighter's experience lends credence to his ability to fight safely inside the octagon, though he cautioned that CSAC doctors ultimately will make the final determination. Nevertheless, he encouraged Hardy to apply if he wanted to fight in California.
"We'll look at his medicals, and if he passes with our doctors, we'll issue him a license," Foster said.
One way or another, this may spell the end of Hardy's career. If the UFC isn't interested in promoting him further, then it doesn't really make any difference if an athletic commission would deem him medically fit. And while he could potentially look for opportunities outside the UFC, his statements on his fighting future have been fairly sedate:
"That's on the UFC. I'll never leave and go fight in another organization. That's not an option. I've always said I'll finish my career with UFC no matter how it ended. I love the UFC. I'm a huge fan. It really depends on the UFC and what they're going to do with me. I'm split on it because I'd like to continue fighting. That's my selfish opinion of it. But there's a possibility something bad happens. That would be bad for the UFC, bad for me and bad for the sport in general." (via MMAFighting)
It's interesting to note the hands-on approach that the UFC is taking to fighter career management when it comes to retirement and injuries. In some aspects it speaks well of them that they are unwilling to put fighters at increased risk for the sake of a money making opportunity. However, if Hardy was younger and more serious about continuing his fighting career then it wouldn't be hard to accuse the UFC of sitting on a fighter because they're afraid to look bad. If nothing else it's worth noting that Hardy had not, and may never have, been told of the UFC's decision had MMAjunkie not contacted him following the CSAC's release.
"It's ultimately the UFC's decision, anyway, regardless of what the commission says," Hardy said. "It doesn't really change a great deal. But it does let me know where the decision has come from, which is interesting."
Eventually, more tests will be done, and more information will become available and Dan Hardy and the UFC both will probably come to a decision on what shape his career should take, but until then the UFC is keeping him out of the cage, whether he's medically fit or not.