Following his win over Maurice Greene on the main card of Saturday’s UFC on Vegas 12 card, Greg Hardy sat down with the media to discuss his fight and his road from NFL player to UFC fighter.
From the start of the post-fight press conference, the MMA media handled Hardy with kid gloves. Hardy was asked questions about the “controversy” — he was found guilty in a bench trial of assault on a female and communicating threats (the charges were later dropped and expunged) — that seems to follow him. Question after question came across as if they were being asked by a public relations firm that had been hired to rehabilitate Hardy’s image.
As journalism, it was cringeworthy to listen to the questions the media asked Hardy. The media did nothing but allow Hardy to present himself as a victim. One can imagine the UFC PR team listening to the questions and grinning from ear to ear.
What follows is a fact check on how Hardy answered those questions.
MMA media: Is the people you’re referring to, is this related to the past controversy that’s always linked to you?
Greg Hardy: Yeah, a lot of past stuff. Just coming back, like I said, trying to prey on me, man. You know?
Bloody Elbow: Inconclusive
Bloody Elbow reached out to Hardy’s management to find out if Hardy had filed a police report regarding the reported pre-fight extortion attempt. We did not receive a response before publication.
GH: I’m a good guy. I’ve been a good guy. Innocent man. Always have been.
BE: False (At least the innocent man part.)
Hardy was not always an innocent man. A North Carolina judge found Hardy guilty in 2014 of assaulting a woman and communicating threats. He received 18 months’ probation.
The arrest warrants accuse the then-Carolina Panthers lineman of throwing ex-girlfriend Nicole Holder to the floor and into a bathtub, slamming her against a Futon and “strangling” during an argument at his home.
The warrant also stated that Hardy also said he would kill Holder. The threat was reportedly “made in a manner and under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to believe that the threat was likely to be carried out.”
Holder filed for a restraining order against Hardy. In her complaint, she accused Hardy of throwing her on a couch covered “in assault weapons and/or shotguns.”
Holder said Hardy bragged that the assault weapons were all loaded. Holder also said Hardy “threatened to shoot me if I went to the media or reported his assaults to anyone.”
Hardy appealed his conviction and requested a jury trial. Prosecutors dismissed the charges after they were unsuccessful in contacting Holder, who testified at Hardy’s first trial.
The charges against Hardy were expunged in November 2015.
The NFL did a two-month investigation of Hardy related to Holder’s reports.The league found sufficient credible evidence that Hardy engaged in conduct that violated NFL policies.
In 2016, Hardy was charged on a single count of felony cocaine possession. Hardy’s attorney was able to plea that down to a misdemeanor. The court ordered Hardy to “stay out of trouble, do community service and pay a $500 fine.”
GH: When people come back and they try and prey and take advantage of somebody that’s coming back and redeeming and regaining, it kind of messes with my head.
Hardy talks about redeeming himself from past actions, but has never showed remorse or even apologized. The closest he got was “Guilty? I mean, the United States of America said I wasn’t. But apologetic, most definitely. I’m sorry for anything I did wrong. I never wanted to do anything wrong.” That is not an apology. That is not a man who is truly repentant and trying to redeem himself.
Hardy also seemed to joke about the entire episode.
Greg Hardy: I hope I come out guns blazin’. Im full of excitement and full of juice. I’m ready to go. I have what they call fresh legs.— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) October 6, 2015
GH: Please go check out my page and everybody else’s page for the real details.
This is what was on Hardy’s page.
According to the police report officer Martin was on site, but he did not go to the apartment to investigate, he stayed on the street with a witness and Holder. The police report said that two other officers, Kendrick and Prentice went up to the apartment.
MMA Media: Do you think there’s something to be said that people should perhaps learn in society that there is a thing as due process and there is a thing as being judged in the court of public opinion, which isn’t necessarily fair.
BE: Hardy got due process. He was found guilty in a bench trial.
GH: Everybody wants to be judged in a court of law by a jury of their peers and have their chance and I didn’t get that. I got executed by Instagram. I’m an innocent man that was never proven guilty. Never called guilty, never anything, not even close and I was executed in the public.
According to the website of criminal defense attorney, Brett A. Podolsky:
In a criminal trial, the defendant is allowed to choose to have a trial by jury or a trial by judge, also called a bench trial.
Hardy could have had a jury trial, but either he or his attorney elected to have a bench trial.
Again, Hardy was found guilty by the judge in his bench trial.
Hardy was called guilty. According to the trial transcript, the judge said:
The Court is entirely convinced behind a reasonable doubt the Mr. Hardy is guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats.
In closing. Hardy was 100 percent found guilty by the judge in his bench trial. That Holder stopped cooperating with prosecution and the charges were later dropped and expunged does not change that fact.
Hardy has never shown any remorse for anyone involved in this case but himself. Until he does that and apologizes and begins his redemption in earnest, a large swath of the MMA community, will see him as little more than Greg Hardy, the man who was found guilty of assault on a female and communicating threats.
I get the feeling that Hardy is not aware of that.