After three fights in the amateur circuit, Greg Hardy will be making his professional MMA debut with a chance to compete in the UFC. As MMA Fighting reports, the controversial former NFL player will compete at Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series on June 12.
The 6’4” football player will face a much more experienced opponent in Brandon Sayles, who is 5-1 as a professional. In his 8-year MMA career, Sayles’ only loss has come against UFC veteran Chase Gormley.
Hardy has had numerous run ins with the law during his NFL career, which includes cases of violence against women. Here’s a brief recap:
Originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers, Hardy made the Pro Bowl in 2013 and was second-team All-Pro due to his impressive ability to rush after and sack the quarterback. In 2014, Hardy was arrested on domestic violence charges against his ex-girlfriend, and was later found guilty of assaulting a female and making communicating threats. Both offenses were misdemeanors, and he was given a suspended 60-day jail sentence, plus 18 months probation.
Hardy missed almost all of the 2014 season and a handful of games in 2015, as the highly-publicized case went to an appeal. Ultimately, the charges were dismissed and expunged from his record, as the victim failed to appear in court for a jury trial. Disturbing and graphic details from Hardy’s accuser, Nicole Holder, can be read in this TIME magazine piece, while Deadspin published photos of Holder’s injuries.
Since making the switch to MMA, Hardy has trained at American Top Team in Florida, and compiled a 3-0 amateur record. All of those victories have been knockouts, with the athletic heavyweight winning with an average bout duration of just 47 seconds.
Hardy claims that joining ATT and training in mixed martial arts have humbled him and made him a better person. You can watch a couple of his amateur MMA bouts here and here.