The fighting veteran has had thirty-five professional fights. Dan Hardy looks back fondly at the times when fighters were afforded the luxury of sponsorships and being able to make executive decisions about how they choose to advertise themselves in order to make a living.
Many moons ago, UFC eliminated sponsorships on banners that are presented as the fighter’s name is called before they meet in the middle of the cage. Looking back on the development of the sport of MMA, Hardy gave his point of view on the matter.
“Then there was the next stage where the banners went, and it was just this constant squeezing the life out of it, and that’s the bit that hurts so much,” Dan Hardy told MMA Fighting. “Because these guys coming up now, the idea now is how do I protect myself and play the game and make the most money. You look back at the old Nick Diaz vs. Robbie Lawler days, they were there for love of it, for the honor of it, for the privilege of standing in there and showing what you’re capable of. And I don’t know, it just seems like we’re moving away from that a bit now.”
Overall, the former athlete and notable MMA podcaster believe that fighters are slowly being stripped of their individualism and simply becoming clones of themselves. Additionally, Hardy, in his twilight years of the fight game understands how important the financial side of things are. Admittedly, Hardy realizes that younger fighters are beginning to act accordingly and focus on the business side of fighting.
Dan Hardy Looks Back On Promotional Shortcomings
While nobody denies the UFC promotes its fighters, former commentator and UFC fighter Dan Hardy has qualms with how they choose to promote.
“People say the word promotion, but they don’t really examine the word promotion, and that’s the thing that’s become more apparent to me over the years,” Hardy continued. “I had an up-and-down relationship with the UFC over the years, because when I first signed with the UFC, I thought we were one family in MMA and we were all walking toward the same thing. And those speeches that [UFC President] Dana [White] used to give after the weigh-ins, you’d be walking out of the room with your arm around your opponent, going, ‘C’mon dude, let’s give a great show tomorrow for the fans tomorrow.’ That’s how it made you feel. But then as soon as I fought [Georges St-Pierre], I realized I’d been kind of hustled along because there was a lack of contenders. I got that fight. Looking back now, it’s embarrassing what I was paid for that fight, what I gave and what it cost me to fight.”
As a ten-fight UFC veteran, Hardy insists he was underpaid for his title fight with Georges St-Pierre because the attitude about fighting was different back when he used to wear MMA gloves. While Hardy does not outright say the UFC does not promote fighters properly, he emphasizes the need to examine the word and juxtaposes it with his career to inspire deep thinking.
“The Outlaw” last competed in the Octagon in 2012 where he beat Amir Sadollah by unanimous decision. After suffering medical issues that would force him to the sidelines indefinitely, Dan Hardy left the promotion with a two-fight win streak intact. With his subsequent release from the UFC, perhaps fans could see the English-striker back in action sooner or later.
Do you believe we will see Dan Hardy in a ring or a cage next?