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Dan Hardy Opens Up On UFC Release, What Happened On Fight Island

Former UFC title contender Dan Hardy had carved out a new role as an analyst for the promotion when he abruptly was removed.

Hardy appeared on “Submission Radio” recently to discuss what he believes led to the dismissal and more.

On what happened between him and the UFC

“I think the Herb Dean situation didn’t work in my favor. I mean, I’d signed a new contract and worked a few events since then, but I still think that was in the back of their mind. And then the incident in fight island, it was a disagreement between myself and another employee of the UFC who, I just feel was, the person was being obstructive in helping me do my job, I felt. And I asked the person why, and I felt like I was told a falsehood, which I called them out on. And that’s my side of it. I don’t know what… I mean, you know, as I said in my statement, I wasn’t aggressive, I wasn’t insulting towards her, I wasn’t threatening in anyway. That’s just not who I am. I was forthright and I was to the point, and I asked the question about why opportunities were not getting through to me when they previously had done for the past few years. It just felt like a bit of a deterioration of a relationship, and I didn’t understand why. Obviously, there was frustration attached to that, because my job is to promote the sport and build the sport as much as I can. And these were media opportunities that I felt would be beneficial for, especially for my region, for the UK. So, obviously there was a little frustration there, but that was it. It was purely a disagreement. I think the aftermath of it is a much more about my calling the person out on not speaking the truth to me and the people present, colleagues of ours.”

On the news of him leaving breaking in a hurtful way and the feeling of no longer being in the UFC

“I mean, it’s just an awkward situation. And it’s frustrating, because I find myself outside of the UFC now. But at the same time, I don’t know… the last few weeks have just felt so much lighter and freer. I mean, I can just cover combat sports now. And there was kind of a weird lag between having the call with the UFC where they decided we were going to part ways, and the news breaking. And the way it was broken was rather hurtful. And I don’t know how or why or whether it was intentional or coincidental for clickbait or whatever. But the way that it was worded just insinuated so much more than it actually was. And I had colleagues there, people that I work with, that I’m still working with now that were there, that were witness to it. And I don’t know, it’s just a very frustrating situation. Obviously, with the fact that I’m not an employee of the UFC and the fact that I’m a contractor to the UFC, it’s very difficult for me to find out any more information. I’ve not spoken to Dana or anybody else. As far as I understand, I’m still under contract as a fighter. But that’s obviously something I’d need to figure out, because I would like to fight and I would imagine other options would land on the table. But the weird lag. There was like a couple of weeks between my parting with the UFC and then the news coming out. And that was a bit of a weird kind of waiting period, because I didn’t how exactly how it was going to be received. But the support has been incredible. The community, the MMA community has just been amazing. They’ve rallied around. I’ve had amazing support across the board. You know, BT Sport have obviously heard the comments and heard the fans, and that’s why I’ve got my own show now. The focus for me is helping people understand MMA.”

“I understand what my side of it was. It was a disagreement about an opportunity that should’ve come to me, that never made it to me. And a whole bunch of other people knew about it, apart from me. And I didn’t know why. So, when I asked the person, I didn’t get the truth. And that was frustrating. I think a big part of it was the embarrassment. And it could have been dealt with better on my part, absolutely. I could have had the conversation in a different place, without there being other people there. But I’m not a corporate individual. I’m a fighter that put on a shirt and tie and did a grown-up’s job. I’m still a kid, and I don’t play these corporate games where people are watching out for their jobs and, ‘oh, you know’, it’s just not me. And I just talk to everybody the same. I’m to the point. That’s how I am.”

If Dana is open to reconciling with the UFC and not wanting Dana White to have the wrong perspective on what happened

“I love the UFC. I always will. I’ll always be a huge fan of the UFC, and it’s been a big part of my career and a big part of my life, and I owe a lot to this place that I’m in right now, sitting talking to you guys, and I’m forever thankful for that. And I have nothing against the UFC or Dana or anything like that. Of course, if they called me up and they’re like, hey, parachute in on a union jack flag for [UFC] 261, I’d be there in a heartbeat. It’s just a weird place, cause I just kind of don’t know exactly what’s happened. And my concern is that Dana’s got a perspective of the situation that’s not true. And that’s what concerns me more than anything. Like, I could not sit octagon-side ever again, as long as Dana doesn’t have this misconception of who I am. Because that would really frustrate me.”

On the Herb Dean situation

And it’s like the Herb Dean thing. I mean, we discussed it, but I think his perspective is still that I got out from my seat, took my headset off, went over and I was waiting at the octagon door for Herb to come out. Like, I still hear that come up on social media from time to time. And then this troll account was started up that’s pretending to be Herb Dean’s wife. I didn’t even know he was married. I’ve never met his wife. It’s just fed into this weird kind of misinformation. I mean it’s the times that we’re living, isn’t it? The generation of fake news. And that’s the problem, when Dana was asked about it at the press conference, he wasn’t clear about the information that he had. And I still very much feel like Dana feels like I approached Herb. Which I didn’t.”

“If you look at the photo, I’ve probably said this a million times. There’s a monitor in front of me that says Dell on the back. That’s my monitor for the fights. And if you look at the photo, it’s Herb’s arm that is over my monitor. I’m standing at my desk, ready to turn around because we’re doing separated interviews. Trinaldo’s already made his way out of the octagon. So, I’ve got to turn around and face a camera that’s behind me. But in the process of me standing up and taking my headset off to turn around and face      the camera, I noticed that Herb is already on his way over to my desk from the octagon. And I know he said that he didn’t know who it was, but that’s nonsense. Because if you watch the end of the fight, you’ll see he turns and he points at me through the cage. Like, he knew it was me that shouted it. Not in the history of the UFC has a fight ever been stopped by the commission yelling ‘stop the fight’.”

On the feeling of being looked at as the “Stop the fight guy” by some people

“So, I’m the stop the fight guy. I don’t know if I can swear on your show, but fuck it, I don’t care, because I’m speaking out for something that’s important. And it’s like this weird misinformation that’s happened about it, where I’m like there picking a fight for some kind of personal benefit. It’s just fucking nonsense. Like, what a stupid thing to say. Like, I don’t really know Jai Herb. I know him as well as I know Trinaldo. It doesn’t matter if the situation was reversed, it’d be the same situation. And it’s not about Herb, but like, generally we have mistakes made consistently in the sport. And it’s one thing if it’s a no contest instead of a DQ. Like, we’re talking about maybe thirty grand difference in Darren Stewart’s pocket. But the reality is, it’s a mistake. Like, that wasn’t a no contest, it was a disqualification. Like, bullshit about baiting. Baiting a knee to the head? So, what? It’s still an illegal shot. It’s still an illegal knee to the head. And not in any jurisdiction aside from Pride rules is that ok. Like, it’s just, there’s this weird like, and I know – I mean, you can see now I can speak, so I can say exactly what I like, I don’t get it. Like, he’s working the majority of the events in Las Vegas, he’s considered the gold standard of the sport, but he makes a mistake almost on a weekly basis at this point. Like, who’s gonna call him out on it? I’ll do it. I don’t care. And I was at Cage Warriors at the trilogy on the weekend, and he probably won’t want me to tell you this, but I’ll tell you this. There was a fight which Marc Goddard was refereeing, and in my opinion, there are three or four referees in the sport that hold the officiating job to such a high standard, and Marc Goddard is one of them. And he walked out the cage and sat down. And it took him a while to get over the fight, because he felt the fighter took one extra punch. Like, where is that responsibility? You know? I’ll be the ‘stop the fight guy’ I don’t care.”

“The thing that’s ridiculous too, mate, is that I don’t know many people out there that love knockouts as much as I do. And I’ve just done the breakdown, as you said, for the new BT show. I literally watched both of Ngannou and Stipe’s entire careers in a day. And I love it. I’m all about people getting knocked out. I love martial arts. It’s what I do. But it’s the point when they’ve been knocked out and they don’t need to take anymore. That’s the point when we have to go, ok, now the sport’s ended. Now it’s about protection of the fighter. And that’s not only protection of the fighter. It’s protection of the sport and of the industry, and of everything that I love and that you guys love. Because as soon as something happens that’s tragic or permanent, then we’re all carrying it. It’s on all of our hands. And if I didn’t say anything and I was sitting octagon-side when that happened, I’d hate myself. You know? Like, we saw it the other week. I was octagon-side for the first ABC card with Calvin Kattar, Max Holloway. I wouldn’t have minded that fight being stopped between the fourth and fifth round. I don’t mind fighters when the stakes are high going out on their shield. I don’t mind it when the stakes are high. But there is a point when you’re seeing nothing come back. And you saw it yourself with the video with Dana speaking to Hunter Campbell and he said, ‘we need to get him to a hospital straight away’. Like, Dana’s identifying there’s a serious danger to the man’s health there, and that’s something that we need to be conscious of. It made me proud and glad to hear Dana say that, because it is important. We want to see Calvin Kattar come back and have another attempt.”

“And maybe it is being recognized, but there’s definitely a gap in the officiating’s training, where they’re given the necessary tools and the understanding to recognize an unconscious fighter and the different states that they go through. I mean, I didn’t know what fencing response was until I started researching after the ‘stop the fight’ incident. And I put out a, what? A ninety-minute show about what happened, and which fortunately got quarter of a million views before it was miraculously taken down off my YouTube channel. Explain that shit to me. I’ve got no idea. But it is what it is.”

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