Last night was the Season 2 finale of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series. Following the event, White fielded questions from reporters. Two topics that came up were the two biggest stories coming into the series: Greg Hardy and Nick Newell. Hardy found success on the show not once but twice. First, Hardy scored a knockout victory over Austen Lane in the season premiere’s main event. He then closed the season out with a 17-second blitz of Tebaris Gordon that sacked his opponent’s hopes of earning a contract into the UFC. Greg Hardy’s developmental deal with the promotion stands strong, and the criticisms of him on social media remain even firmer. When asked if he had been confronted with such criticisms about Hardy, White once again spoke up for Hardy and the belief in second chances.
“There’s always gonna be those people out there that [criticize],” White said. “The guy has changed his life around. This is his second chance. He’s been excellent to deal with. Everyone who’s come in contact with him since he’s been with us has said nothing but good things about him. The guy made a mistake. You’re always gonna have the freaks that have nothing better to do and wanna run around and say this and that or somebody has a cause. What the guy did was horrible. He has a second chance here. He turned his life around. He got off drugs, got off alcohol, hit rock bottom, and then built himself back up. What do they want the guy to do? He should never work again? He should never do anything again? Life doesn’t work that way.”
Somewhat ironically, the man many fans were rooting against dominated and finds himself in the protective bosom of the president and the UFC brass, while the other biggest story of the season and massive fan favorite Nick Newell now finds himself on the outside looking in:
“I respect that kid very much,” White said of Newell. “Obviously, that’s why I gave him an opportunity. I just always believed that the UFC was a tough place for Nick. This is a tough place with two arms and two legs. This is the real deal. I put him in The Contender Series to see if he could make it to the UFC. He didn’t make it.”
While one door closes, one door opens. It seems the door for Nick Newell’s UFC dreams is firmly shut, while Greg Hardy’s has only begun to crack, even though Hardy insists on kicking it down when met with resistance from opponents and critics.
Did Greg Hardy rightfully earn a UFC contract?