Fight fans from every corner of the MMA landscape were both disappointed as well as concerned when the UFC announced that welterweight, and fan-favorite Dan Hardy, would not be able to obtain a license for his upcoming fight against fellow welterweight Matt Brown. The popular, English-born fighter, was denied the necessary license required by the California State Athletic Commission in order to fight in the ”UFC on Fox 7” card scheduled for April 20th, in San Jose.
During a routine physical that is required for all fighters to take prior to competing, it was discovered that Hardy has a heart abnormality known as ”Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome”.
Fatal in 1 of every 150-200 cases, Hardy was born with the condition and prior to the physical was unaware that he had it. The abnormality can be corrected with minor surgery but Hardy however, has made it clear that surgery of any kind, isn’t an option he’s willing to consider.Hardy’s opponent Matt Brown, will now face welterweight Jordan Mein who UFC officials named as his replacement for the upcoming event.
More concerning for devoted fans of ”The Outlaw”, is the fact that prior to the recent discovery of his heart condition, Hardy had openly stated on several occasions that he was strongly considering retirement.
An extremely passionate and talented artist, the native of both Nottingham, UK, and Las Vegas, has recently said that he may be leaning toward moving on with his life in the near future. Last fighting in September of 2012 , a 3-round, unanimous decision victory over Amir Sadollah, Hardy [25-10-0, 1 NC], left Nottingham Trent University where he was in his final year, to train full-time and pursue a professional career in MMA.
For the sport of MMA and more specifically the UFC, the loss of such a polarizing and intriguing figure as Dan Hardy would be nothing short of tragic. First competing in the UFC in October of 2008, Hardy is a fighter who loves his country, is passionate about life, and more importantly, never quits inside the octagon. With victories in his UFC career over fighters such as Marcus Davis, Mike Swick and Rory Markham, Hardy has never been afraid to voice his opinion and instantly became a fan favorite.
After an impressive debut victory over Akihiro Gono in October of 2008, Hardy quickly earned wins against some of the divisions top fighters, and coupled with his popularity, secured a title fight with UFC legend George St. Pierre in May of 2010. Unable to defeat GSP with his striking abilities, Hardy was dominated during the fight as St.Pierre took Hardy down at will. Despite numerous attempts to finish the Outlaw, GSP was unable to submit Hardy due to the fact that he refused to tap out.
Hardy’s reputation as a fighter who should be taken seriously, was solidified after the GSP fight. Following the title fight however, Hardy suffered losses to Carlos Condit, Anthony Johnson, and Chris Lytle, which subsequently made him eligible for the UFC’s unwritten, ” lose three fights and you’re likely getting cut rule.” Recognizing Hardy’s popularity, the UFC’s Lorenzo Fertitta choose to keep the only British-born fighter to ever fight for the belt, on the company’s payroll.
Following his three-straight losses, Hardy won his first fight in the UFC in March of 2012 with a first-round knockout of welterweight Duane Ludwig. After another win versus welterweight Amir Sadollah, it looked as though Hardy was back to being the fighter that fans initially grew to love and had regained his focus.
The announcement regarding Hardy’s denied license, couldn’t have come at a worse time as his future within the sport is now more uncertain than ever. Besides the obvious loss of one of the UFC’s most captivating fighters, the sport would also be losing a well spoken, intelligent, and genuinely good person, who has always given the fans everything he has inside the octagon.
Besides his well-known passion for art and design, Hardy has also made headlines in the past by speaking out against trophy hunting within the United States and abroad. Of course, whether Hardy does in fact retire or not, remains to be seen. Hardy has gone his entire career without an incident related to the condition, and the chance that the abnormality could be fatal remains at less than one percent.
The one thing that fans of the dynamic welterweight can be sure of, is that Dan Hardy’s days as a UFC fighter are more than likely numbered, Never again is Hardy likely to walk to the octagon for a UFC title fight to the sounds of ”England Belongs To Me.”
When considering the circumstances, it’s somehow unfair that a fighter known for his heart and determination, will more than likely be forced into retirement by a heart condition. Hopefully however, both the fans that love him unconditionally, as well as those who feel that he is bad for the UFC, are able to take solace in the fact that whether its inside the octagon or not, we have definitely not heard the last from Dan Hardy.