Dana White blasts criticism of Greg Hardy: ‘He’s paid his dues’

Dana White wasn’t holding back when it came to Greg Hardy’s place in Fight Night 143 at UFC Brooklyn on Saturday. 

The UFC president defended the decision to place the former NFL player, who was found guilty of assault and communicating threats against his ex-girlfriend in July 2014, on the same fight card as alleged domestic violence victim Rachael Ostovich.

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The decision has drawn much criticism since it was announced last month, including comments from ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani, who called out UFC for keeping the card intact.

Helwani said earlier this week on ESPN’s “First Take” (via the Washington Post):

“I found this decision to be incredibly tone-deaf, to put it mildly. There are 43 cards scheduled for 2019. I didn’t understand why Greg Hardy had to be on a) the ESPN debut card and b) the same card as Rachael Ostovich. I didn’t think it was fair to Rachael Ostovich. And I think it’s important to note that ESPN didn’t have a say in any of this. UFC makes the cards. They have the final say on it all. And I just didn’t think that Greg Hardy, considering the fact that he’s just 3-0, that he’s never made it past the first minute in any of his professional fights and he’s only been doing this essentially a year and a half, I didn’t think he earned the right to be on this historic card.”

White then made an appearance Friday on “First Take” and responded to Helwani’s comments. He called the MMA reporter “the type of guy that finds something in everything.”

“I didn’t go at him, I just said his opinion doesn’t matter to me,” White said of Helwani. “I don’t care what he thinks. His opinion means nothing to me. I made this decision, and this is what I’m going to do. … What do I care whether he likes it or not? I’ve been dealing with this guy for a long time. This is what he does.”

White went on to defend Hardy, saying he deserves to have the chance to fight because he has “paid his dues.”

“The guy deserves to make a living,” White said. “He lost everything. He’s been building himself up for the last five years. He’s done everything a human being is supposed to do.”

White added: “When I make a decision that this is what I’m going to do, other people’s opinions don’t matter.”

UFC Fight Night 143 is scheduled for Saturday at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

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