Wherever Greg Hardy goes, controversy seems to follow. Things were no different Friday at UFC on ESPN 6.
Hardy (5-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) pulled off what was seemingly a first in UFC history when, between the second and third round of his heavyweight fight with Ben Sosoli, he used an inhaler. The former NFL standout went on to a unanimous decision win, but there was immediate outrage and questions after what transpired..
Once the event, which took place at TD Garden in Boston, came to a conclusion, the UFC announced Hardy’s win had been overturned to a no contest due to the inhaler use. Hardy believes he did nothing wrong because he asked a Massachusetts State Athletic Commission official in the octagon if he could use the inhaler, citing U.S. Anti-Doping Agency approval.
That ultimately proved false, with Hardy’s victory being changed to a no contest, much to his dismay.
“(I’m) super sad,” Hardy told reporters, including MMA Junkie, post-fight at UFC on ESPN 6. “It’s a ventolin albuterol inhaler for exercise-induced asthma. I used it my whole life. I sign the commission paperwork when I weighed in. It’s on the USADA paperwork when I take every single drug test so that y’all know that I’m not taking steroids. I’m just naturally a monster.”
UFC president Dana White was at a loss for words over the entire situation. He understands how it unfolded when watching the footage back, but he put the onus on Hardy’s chief corner, Din Thomas from American Top Team, for not having awareness that use of the inhaler would be illegal.
“I think if you watch it you can understand how it happened,” White said. “But he asked the guy, and the guy said, ‘Is it medically approved?’ And he said, ‘It’s USADA approved.’ Because he put it down on his sheet that he was using an inhaler, and they knew he used an inhaler. So it’s crazy.
“I don’t even know what to say. First of all: Din Thomas … come on, Din. You’ve been in this game forever. His corner, they’ve got to know you can’t use an inhaler in the corner. They should know that. Shouldn’t even be a question. You can drink water. It’s pretty simple. Gatorade in some states.”
Hardy reiterated that he did not intend to break rules by using the inhaler mid-fight. He believed at the time that it was legitimate and attempted to clarify that, even though the inhaler gave him no performance advantage.
“You have complete control of your diaphragm and your lungs (when using the inhaler),” Hardy said. “They can expand and contract normally. Mine do not. They inflame. It restricts the breathing and airflow. I’m sure a lot of people out here have kids with asthma. You can’t leave them alone, or they’ll die. So it literally just clears the airway so I am able to breath. It’s not so I can breath better. It helps me breath just like you, which evens the playing field.”
Hardy ultimately was most frustrated with being caught up in another controversy that took away from his performance, which he believes went well against Sosoli, going three rounds for the first time and taking “the most and the hardest” shots of his MMA career thus far.
Nevertheless, Hardy said he intends to keep moving forward with a positive attitude.
“The worst part is, here I am letting people down again,” Hardy said. “It’s a sucky feeling. All I’m trying to do is – we had a conversation before the fight, I’m doing everything I’m supposed to be doing. I asked permission, they told me I could, and I’m in trouble again. My mind’s on just make sure everyone is happy, making sure everything is cool because it’s a crappy feeling. Everything is about my inhaler instead of me watching a sweet (Chris) Weidman knockout from my boy (Dominick Reyes). Same as any other situation: I’m worried about my team.
“I just fought more time than I’ve ever fought in my whole entire career, and we’re sitting here talking about an inhaler that I’ve used my whole entire life. That’s a crappy feeling, dude. I never want to take away from the UFC brand. I never want to take away from anybody, and I feel like that’s what’s happening, and I’m not OK with that.”
- UFC on ESPN 6 results: Greg Hardy uses inhaler, then gets nod over Ben Sosoli
- UFC on ESPN 6 results: Dominick Reyes stops Chris Weidman in under two minutes
- UFC on ESPN 6 results: Yair Rodriguez decisions Jeremy Stephens in 3-round thriller
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Greg Hardy 'super sad' after inhaler use overturns UFC Boston win; Dana White blames corner