Greg Hardy didn’t get any NFL free agency love this off-season. So he’s turning his attention to a new endeavor — mixed martial arts.
“I’m fully committed to being as successful as I can be in this sport,” Hardy said in a statement to MMAFighting.com.
The defensive end out of Mississippi spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Carolina Panthers, making the Pro Bowl in 2013 but missing all but one game in 2014 while on the commissioner’s exempt list after being arrested on domestic violence charges for allegedly assaulting an ex-girlfriend.
While the charges were eventually dropped after the woman failed to appear at his trial, Hardy was suspended by the league for the first four games of the 2015 season. Only then was he able to take the field for the Dallas Cowboys, whom he had joined as a free agent that off-season.
But his numbers (six sacks, 23 tackles) were disappointing, and he provided more off-field distractions, including a locker room meltdown, inappropriate comments about New England quarterback Tom Brady’s wife and a poor choice in words — “gun blazing” — to describe how he was going to approach his first game back from suspension.
On Sept. 26, Hardy was arrested on a cocaine possession charge in Richardson, Texas, and released from custody a day later on $5,000 bond.
Now he sounds like he wants a fresh start. Although he doesn’t have much of a background in martial arts, Hardy has reportedly been training for several months in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and hopes to start fighting as a heavyweight next year.
“I’m very focused and excited to start my MMA career,” Hardy said. “I’m going to do this the right way, I can assure you of that.”