Nearly a year and a half after his last UFC fight, Dan Hardy has found himself a new job.
Beginning with the UFC’s March 8 event in London, Hardy will serve as the promotion’s color commentator on six Fight Pass events alongside veteran play-by-play man John Gooden. The two, along with cage announcer Andy Friedlander, were announced at a presentation Friday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
It’s a job Hardy auditioned for several times in recent months, he said, though also one he found surprisingly in line with his existing skill set.
“It’s really the same stuff I’ve been doing for years as a fighter,” Hardy told MMAjunkie. “You watch the DVDs and you analyze the guys and discuss them with your teammates and coaches. I’m doing the same thing but discussing it with a co-commentator. Fortunately, he’s a UFC nerd as well, so we got on really well.”
The obvious question is, what does this mean for Hardy’s fighting career, which was put on hold after the UFC discovered that he had a heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. The UFC wanted Hardy to have surgery before it would clear him to fight again, but Hardy resisted that approach. He resists it still, he said, and is busy trying to find a path back into the cage that doesn’t go through a surgeon’s office.
A big part of the problem, according to Hardy, is the American health care system.
“I think the problem is, the UFC are getting the best information that they can, but they’re sending me to a cardiologist in the U.S. and, because of the way the health care system is set up, it’s a business,” Hardy said. “Unless I have surgery, I’m not a customer. So it’s like, are you dealing with a cardiologist or are you dealing with a salesman? I’ve been going to cardiologists and they say, ‘Yeah, yeah, get [the surgery] done.’ That’s the information they relay to the UFC, and so the UFC thinks it’s essential for my own safety. I really don’t think it is, and neither does my doctor in the U.K.”
That’s where his new gig as a commentator might come in handy, Hardy said. Since he’ll be working Fight Pass events overseas, he’s hopeful that he’ll get to spend enough time with doctors in the U.K. that the UFC will eventually be persuaded to clear him to fight again.
“I really believe it’s a matter of finding a cardiologist who’s not trying to make a bunch of cash, who can go to the UFC and say, ‘Yes, there is this thing, but it’s not a big deal and he’s never had symptoms,’” Hardy said. “Just in case, I can sign a bit of paperwork that says if my chest explodes on a pay-per-view, I knew it was going to happen. There’s got to be some way. We get punched in the face. We know how dangerous the sport is anyway.”
And, to hear Hardy tell it, knowing that is one of the things that will help him in his new job. The brash welterweight has never been known as a man who’s afraid to speak his mind, and that won’t change when he’s calling fights from cageside, he said, even if it might not go over well with some other fighters.
“Obviously I don’t want to upset anybody,” Hardy said. “I know how hard all these guys are working for these fights. That’s one thing I can bring to the table. I know what they’re sacrificing to be in there. I’m not going to talk down to anybody, but I am going to be honest. I can see when a guy is running from a fight, when a guy’s hiding from a fight, and I don’t mind saying it. The bottom line is, if the fighter doesn’t want to be talked about like that, then come in and have a fight.”