Greg Hardy, the former NFL defensive end whose career took a tailspin after a domestic violence charge, now says he is “focused” on starting a Mixed Martial Arts career, according to a report Tuesday morning. Also on Tuesday, a video of Hardy practicing basketball, seen above appeared on YouTube, along wit the claim, “Greg Hardy is working out in Dallas to see if he can get a shot in the NBA.” The credibility of that claim is uncertain.
Here’s what you need to know about Hardy’s announced career switch.
Hardy Says He’ll Do MMA ‘The Right Way’
In a statement to the MMA news site MMAFighting.com, the 28-year-old Hardy confirmed that he is indeed pursuing an MMA career.
“I’m very focused and excited to start my MMA career,” Hardy told the site. “I’m going to do this the right way, I can assure you of that.”
2. He Was Arrested on Cocaine Charges Two Weeks Ago
Hardy was busted on September 26 in Richardson, Texas, and charged with possession of a controlled substance, which police said was cocaine that they found in Hardy’s vehicle, according to an ESPN.com report.
Police stopped Hardy’s Dodge Challenger after he failed to signal for a left turn, according to media reports of the incident. He told police that there was nothing illegal in the vehicle, but when they searched they found a bag containing a white substance in his wallet, later was tested and found to be cocaine. They also found remnants of marijuana.
Hardy blamed an unknown person at a party he had just attended for planting the cocaine in his wallet — claiming that he was paying for everyone at the gathering, so he passed his wallet from person to person.
3. He Has Been Attempting to Rebuild His Reputation
Hardy launched a new web site this week, TheGregHardy.com, in an apparent attempt to reconstruct his badly damaged public image. The main headline on the site reads, “The Ultimate Comeback.”
But when the site first went on line, according to The New York Post, the home page contained an incorrectly stated quote from legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, reading, “It’s not whether you get knocked out, it’s whether you get back up.”
The quote seemed overly reminiscent of his 2014 domestic violence case in which Hardy was accused of physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Nicole Holder. Charges were dropped, though the sports news site Deadspin later published chilling police photographs and documents from the case that showed the injuries Hardy had inflicted on Holder. A video summarizing the Deadspin reporting can be viewed below on this page.
The quote on Hardy’s page was quickly revised to substitute the phrase “knocked down” for “knocked out.”
4. Hardy May Make His MMA Fighting Debut In 2017
“I’m fully committed to being as successful as I can be in this sport,” Hardy told MMAFighting.com, which also reported that Hardy is expected to compete as a heavyweight with his debut coming sometime next year. Whether Hardy has been offered a contract by any of the major MMA promotional organizations was not clear.
5. Hardy Remains an NFL Free Agent
After a controversial season in which he returned from a four-game suspension over a domestic violence incident, after missing all of 2014 on the NFL’s “exempt” list, Hardy — originally drafted by the Carolina Panthers — signed with the Dallas Cowboys and again plunged into controversy, making a series of seemingly inappropriate statements, including suggestive remarks about New England Patriots quarterback Tim Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bunchden.
The Cowboys released him after the 2015 season and no other team signed Hardy.