Disgraced NFLer Greg Hardy set to face another Ex-NFL player in pro MMA debut


This is the slow period for most football players.

The NFL draft was last month, and most of the free agents are signed, sealed and delivered.

This is the time for off-the-radar weight lifting and getting into peak condition before training camp gets underway.

Greg Hardy no longer has to worry about any of this. The former Pro Bowler is essentially a former football player since his 2014 domestic violence case.

But a guy’s got to work, right?

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So on June 12, Hardy will begin a new career — as an MMA fighter.

He won an amateur bout in November, knocking out a flabby Joe Hawkins in 32 seconds.

Now the former Panther and Cowboy will take to the octagon against another former NFL player, Austen Lane, in his pro MMA debut.

The bout will be a part of “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series.”

Lane — like Hardy — was a defensive end. He played five seasons for Jacksonville, Detroit and Chicago.

He is 4-0 so far in his MMA career, and as he told, he’s not intimidated facing the more-heralded Hardy.

“At the end of the day, when we go in the cage, we’re just going to be two fighters,” he said. “Obviously we’ll both have some athleticism that has carried over from the NFL, but I don’t consider him former NFL player Greg Hardy, I consider him MMA fighter Greg Hardy, and that’s how I’m going to approach what he’s bringing to the table.”

Unlike Austen, whose NFL career ended based on his performance, Hardy was done in by legal issues.

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He missed most of the 2014 season and four games in 2015 after he was arrested in the assault of his girlfriend.

In 2016, Hardy’s problems continued, as he was arrested for cocaine possession.

The 29-year-old says he hasn’t given up dreams of a football comeback, and this spring he played with the Richmond Roughriders in the Arena League.

It remains to be seen whether Hardy’s MMA career is legitimate or just a PR stunt.

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Mike is an 11-time Michigan Emmy Award winner who has spent nearly 30 years working in sports media.
Mike has spent nearly 30 years in all aspects of sports media, including on-air, 10 at ESPN and another 10 at Fox Sports Detroit. He now works as a TV agent, and lives with his family in West Bloomfield, MI.
Sudbury, Massachusetts
11-time Michigan Emmy winner
Emerson College
Books Written
The Longest Year: One Family's Journey Of Life, Death, And Love/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Tigers/If These Walls Could Talk: Detroit Lions
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