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For NFL-star turned professional fighter Greg Hardy has found himself in the spotlight once again, this time as a result of using his inhaler in last Friday’s fight against Ben Sosoli at UFC on ESPN 6.
The result was originally awarded as a unanimous decision win for Hardy before it was quickly overturned to a no-contest, as any use of an inhaler is prohibited during a fight.
Former referee “Big” John McCarthy has to come to the defense of Hardy and his team, saying the decision to allow the heavyweight to take the inhaler in the middle of the second and third rounds falls on the commission and not the athlete (via MMAJunkie.com):
“It falls on the commission,” McCarthy said. “That inspector is an absolute … he’s an authority with that athletic commission. He is your person inside. He was assigned, that man or that woman. To do that job. His job was to be with Greg Hardy the whole time. He is a representative of the commission, so when Greg Hardy … Greg Hardy did nothing wrong.
“Greg Hardy’s got asthma. I got asthma. And so Greg Hardy feels like ‘Oh, I’m getting tight here, I’m in between the second and third round of the fight, and that’s five minutes, and I’m going to have a hard timing breathing in this third round. Can I take my inhaler?’ And he says ‘Hey, can I take my inhaler?’ And that person, when I train people all the time, referees, all of them, I say, if you don’t know, someone asks you a question and you don’t know the absolute right answer, your job is to say I don’t know. Let me find out for you.”
McCarthy said the reason using an inhaler was prohibited was because the fighter would have an advantage by altering the air they are taking in:
“Now, you can’t have that done because it is an advantage,” McCarthy said. “You can’t have one fighter getting an advantage when the other fighter is not. You get to breathe the same air inside of that arena, and you can’t alter that air in any fashion.”
McCarthy sympathised with Hardy and said because of the commission making the incorrect call it cost the former NFL player a lot of money:
“I feel bad for Greg,” McCarthy added. “He’s the guy getting ripped for this when he didn’t do anything. He didn’t try to cheat. He tried to get something. I don’t blame him for trying to get it.”