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John McCarthy criticizes corner inspector for Greg Hardy’s inhaler use at UFC Boston

Former referee and Bellator color commentator “Big John” McCarthy gives his take on Greg Hardy’s inhaler controversy.

UFC heavyweight Greg Hardy was involved in another controversial fight over the weekend. “The Prince of War” used an inhaler in between rounds, leading to his unanimous decision verdict against Ben Sosoli to be overturned to a No Contest.

While Hardy expectedly received backlash for his actions, UFC president Dana White also blamed the cornermen for allowing it to happen. But for former long-time referee and Bellator color commentator John McCarthy, the fault lies on the corner inspector overseeing the action at the time.

“The person that has knowledge, the person that is responsible for that corner is the inspector,” McCarthy told MMA Fighting. “The Massachusetts State Athletic Commission assigned that person to that corner for that fight. He is the representative, he is the arm of the commission and Greg Hardy didn’t do anything other than ask, ‘Can I use my inhaler?’

“[The inspector] asked the question of, ‘Is it approved?’ What is Hardy thinking, he’s thinking, ‘All my drugs have to go through USADA’ and so he goes, ‘Yeah, it’s USADA-approved.’ And [the inspector] gives permission—he should never have done that—to the fighter to use the inhaler, so the fighter uses it.

For “Big John,” the inspector should’ve erred on the side of caution, instead of making such a decision.

“Did Greg Hardy try to cheat? No,” McCarthy said. “He’s asking in front of everyone, ‘Can I use this?’ So everything that you’re looking at, no matter what, goes down to one person. It was that inspector who allowed him to do that.

“That inspector did not know the rules and that inspector created the entire situation. All he needed to say is, ‘I don’t know. Don’t do that. Let me find out.’”

In a separate statement sent to MMA Fighting, the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission (MSAC) explained why the fight was overturned to a No Contest.

“The inhaler was not pre-approved by the commission for use during the fight in accordance with the Commission’s regulations,” MSAC spokesperson Carolyn Assa wrote in an email. “Therefore, the commission overturned the win and declared the bout no contest.”

As clarified by the UFC’s VP of athlete health and performance Jeff Novitzky, the albuterol in Hardy’s inhaler is allowed in the company’s anti-doping program under a certain dose. Fighters can apparently take up to 1600 micrograms over 24 hours in divided doses, or 800 micrograms over 12 hours starting from any dose. Using it during the actual fight though, is a different matter.