Greg Hardy’s fight Friday night on the UFC Boston undercard went from bad to worse. The TD Garden crowd filled the arena with boos, after the former NFL defensive lineman’s lackluster three-round fight with Ben Sosoli went the distance. Hardy was initially awarded a victory, with all three judges scoring the bout in his favor.
But shortly after midnight, the fight was ruled a no-contest since Hardy used an inhaler inbetween rounds.
“I was in the ring, me and my coach asked the commission if it would be OK to use my inhaler and they said yes, so I took it,” said Hardy. “I’m still the new guy in this sport. I did what I do in every situation – I asked permission, I got permission, and I did what I was told.”
The scene Hardy described played out in front of the ESPN cameras, and the network tweeted the video clip out.
“If you watch it, you can understand how it can happen,” said UFC president Dana White. “He asked the guy [from the commission], and the guy says ‘Is it medically approved?’ and he says ‘It’s USADA [US Anti-Doping Agency] approved.’ Because he put it down on his sheet that he was using an inhaler, and they knew he used an inhaler. It’s crazy.”
Hardy said the inhaler is a ventolin albuterol inhaler, which is used for exercise-induced asthma, and that he was allowed to use it in the NFL.
White hesitated to criticize Hardy, and pointed the finger at his corner and trainer Din Thomas.
“I don’t even know what to say. First of all, Din Thomas, I mean, come on Din. You’ve been in this game forever,” said White. “His corner, they’ve got to know you can’t use an inhaler in the corner. They should know that. It shouldn’t even be a question. You can drink water. It’s pretty simple.”
It was supposed to be another step for Hardy, 31, who hopes to be the next big star in an aging heavyweight division. Current champion Stipe Miocic is 37. No. 1 contender and former champ Daniel Cormier is 40. Brock Lesnar and Cain Velazquez have departed for the WWE. But Hardy is not ranked in the top 15, and Friday night’s fight was unlikely to change that, even before the inhaler controversy began.