Greg Hardy’s Ultimate Fighting Championship debut didn’t go as planned, and according to Hardy, the aftermath may sting worse than the loss itself.
Taking on Allen Crowder at UFC Fight Night 143 last weekend, former NFL All-Pro swarmed his opponent early and had him in apparent serious trouble, as he has done to all of his foes so far. However, Hardy was unable to finish the durable Crowder, who appeared to be gaining momentum and confidence as the round ended.
Midway through the second round, Hardy landed a knee to the temple of the grounded Crowder and the referee called off the night disqualifying Hardy and awarding the victory to his opponent. Hardy exited the arena to a shower of boos from the crowd and has been shellacked on social media, with fans variously accusing Hardy of being a cheap-shot artist or looking for a way out of the fight due to fatigue.
Speaking to TMZ this week, Hardy claimed the foul had been unintentional and maintained that he is not a cheater.
“I was in a bad place, bro,” Hardy said. “It kind of hurt me. You guys cover me for a long time, I hate losing, bro. I’m not a loser, for one. For two, I hate people thinking that I’m a cheater and just the way that it was all formed and shaped. It kind of hurt me, man.”
Hardy hinted at inexperience in the fight game playing a part as he said he misinterpreted the rule regarding a downed opponent.
“Looking back and listening to the rule, I didn’t really understand the rule,” Hardy said. “It was a different understanding. And the crazy thing is, in my mind, I wasn’t even gonna risk it, you know? I was literally waiting for him to get up. I saw the knee come up, and he grabbed the back of my other leg, so it feels like he’s standing up, man. And I was trying to time it.
“I just saw Cowboy Cerrone catch this guy with some perfect timing, and I was just thinking timing a beautiful shot, you know? Like every fight I’ve been in before this fight, there was this moment, I saw, and I locked in on it, and I went for it, man. Like I said, it’s not intentional at all.”