Dan Hardy’s relationship with the UFC, and its president Dana White, has seemingly been in free-fall for a while now. The former title contender and broadcast team member was unceremoniously released from the world’s largest MMA promotion back in the spring of 2021—following reports of a dust-up between Hardy and another UFC employee.
In the time since, the ‘Outlaw’ hasn’t shied away from critiquing his ex-employer, even going so far as to suggest that White staged his concern for featherweight contender Calvin Kattar in a ‘behind the scenes’ mini-doc including footage from Kattar’s 2021 bout against Max Holloway. The accusation didn’t go unnoticed by the UFC boss, who fired back at Hardy during a recent press conference—calling the ex-welterweight “obviously bitter,” and telling reporters that Hardy “was mistreating a woman who worked here.”
In a new UFC 280 post-event video blog, Hardy addressed White’s comments, admitting that while he is a “little bitter” it’s “unbelievable” that the promoter would frame the circumstances of his firing from the UFC as “mistreating a woman.”
Hardy then took aim at White’s newest business venture, which recently got cleared for regulation by the Nevada Athletic Commision: Dana White’s Power Slap League. White, Lorenzo Fertitta, and several other longtime UFC & Ultimate Fighter execs have teamed up to create a new TV show around the cult combat sports sensation. One that Hardy was quick to remind listeners is essentially just a ticket to unchecked brain damage.
“I know what we’ll do,” Hardy joked of White’s Power Slap League (transcript via MMA Fighting). “We love our athletes, we care about them so much, let’s start a f-cking slap fight league. Let’s trade concussions for cash. I mean, c’mon. And you’re going to advertise that to me while I’m trying to watch MMA, while I’m trying to watch my sport? C’mon. Say one thing, do another. Say one thing, talk some sh-t, do another. It’s the same pattern, over and over again.”
“How did that become a thing?” Hardy added. “I wonder, back in the old MMA days, if anybody was watching MMA and feeling like I do about slap fighting now, because I’m sure they did. I had a long conversation with somebody about, ‘Oh it’s this and that, it’s human cockfighting.’ But I can’t, for the life of me, understand the endeavor of slap fighting, aside from to make a bit of cash and get some [followers] for your Instagram. It’s cashing in on f-cking brain trauma.”
Hardy’s MMA career was sidelined in 2012 following a diagnosis of an irregular heartbeat, stemming from Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome. The 40-year-old has regularly talked of making a return to competition over the last decade, with talks for a boxing match against Tyron Woodley late last year (a fight that reportedly fell apart when the ‘Chosen One’ stepped in for a rematch with Jake Paul instead).
Following Woodley’s 6th round KO loss to Paul, the former UFC champion stated that he’d prefer an MMA bout against Hardy to another boxing contest. However, talk of the potential fight has largely died away in the months since.