Former NFL player Greg Hardy’s new Ultimate Fighting Championship contract has brought criticism from UFC flyweight fighter Jessica-Rose Clark.
Clark, herself a survivor of domestic violence, says she is “very against” the UFC’s new contract with the one-time NFL defensive end, according to USA Today.
“I don’t believe people like that change,” Clark said in response to questions over whether Hardy deserves a second chance.
In an interview with the “Phonebooth Fighting” podcast, Clark said that the man who abused her got a light sentence after being convicted of abuse and noted that abusers often have the ability to “convince you that he’s a really good person.” But as far as she is concerned, domestic abusers will never change.
Clark also said that athletic ability should not overshadow a person’s actions off the field of competition.
“Athletic ability seems to supersede any negative thing you do in your life,” Clark said on the podcast. “You see it time and time again, like Kobe Bryant. It happens so often, and it blows my mind that that’s where our society is at. That like, ‘Oh, he did all these really terrible things, but he’s an amazing athlete, so (expletive) it, let’s just let him keep going and keep making his millions and keep being on TV.’ There’s no punishment.”
Hardy has a history of abusing women, Clark concluded, and he won’t change.
The former Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys player was arrested in 2014 for assaulting an ex-girlfriend. He was found guilty several months later and sentenced to 18 months of probation. Hardy was suspended from the Panthers and by April of 2015 NFL Commissioner Goodell handed Hardy a ten-game suspension.
The player’s charges were expunged from his record in November of 2015, but on the tail of that legal action photos of his girlfriend’s injuries were released publicly. On the heels of the release of the photos, Hardy was fired by the league. A year later Hardy was arrested for cocaine possession on Dallas, Texas.
Despite his record, UFC President Dana White gave Hardy a shot at competing in the UFC with a few bouts that would result in a contract if successfully completed. Consequently, after defeating Austen Lane in 57 seconds, Hardy won his UFC development contract.
White exclaimed that Hardy had “hit rock bottom” but has surged back to turn his life around.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.