LAS VEGAS – During his mixed martial arts career, Greg Hardy has largely brushed off criticism and questioning of his past controversies.
That changed Saturday after his UFC on ESPN+ 39 win over Maurice Greene by second-round TKO.
Hardy’s troubles with the law have long been a topic of discussion during his professional athletic career – something he had said was behind him. But on Saturday, Hardy (7-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) claimed, his past, in some way, shape, or form presented itself again hours before the fight.
“Some people from my past coming to extort me, put me in crazy situations, try to take food out of my family’s mouth, and (there were) a lot of outside circumstances going on,” an emotional Hardy told reporters at a post-fight news conference. “I was breaking down in my bathroom before I even started to fight. I was in tears trying to figure out how we’re going to function and if I could go on. It was just a lot of drama, man – people trying to take advantage of my situation.”
While Hardy would not elaborate on specific details, he said people tried to take advantage of him and said it was unwarranted. According to Hardy, the character the public makes him out to be is not accurate.
“They’re trying to prey on me, man,” Hardy said. “You guys know me by now. I would’ve jumped off a building or done so crazy T.O. stuff if I was that guy you’re always talking about. I’m not. I never will be. I’m a good guy. I’ve been a good guy – an innocent man. I always have been.”
Five years ago, Hardy was convicted of domestic violence after an incident in Charlotte, N.C. The police report, obtained by Deadspin, stated the victim was thrown onto a pile of semi-automatic assault weapons and that Hardy strangled her and told her he should kill her.
Later, after reportedly reaching a settlement with the victim, charges against Hardy were dropped when the victim stopped cooperating.
Hardy said he’s long avoided engaging in the public conversation about past accusations because he wanted to put his family first. Now that his family is taken care of, Hardy said he’ll be revealing “the truth,” which he began to do on his Instagram on Thursday.
“The hate against me was so loud that you would’ve never believed me,” Hardy said. “Nobody would ever believe me. I’ve been telling you the same thing since literally Day 1. From the very beginning, I’ve said the same exact thing. Now, it’s just the time to where I’m in a place where I brought myself back. My family is safe from being targeted. My financial situation is not. My career is not. My family is safe. So now I can actually start to put the truth out there.
“I have a son. I have a daughter, who carries my last name. I need that name cleared. My little brother is about to try to get in the NBA and the NFL. I need them to have that name and be proud to wear that name and not be persecuted and not be talked about and not be brought down by that name because it’s not right. That’s why I’m doing it.”
UFC on ESPN+ 39 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streamed on ESPN+.