UFC set to put domestic violence abuser and domestic violence victim on the same card
Earlier this year ESPN and the UFC agreed a five-year deal that would consist of 30 UFC Fight Night events per year for the broadcaster, including 10 main cards on ESPN's television networks.
The first of those cards is set to air on January 19 in New York with Rachael Ostovich set to take on Paige VanZant in a women's flyweight bout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The fight was originally set to take place on November 20 but was cancelled after Ostovich suffered a broken orbital bone following an attack that she claims was carried out by her husband and fellow MMA fighter Arnold Berdon.
Former NFL player Greg Hardy is also reportedly set to fight on the card with the ex-Dallas Cowboys defensive end likely to fight heavyweight Allen Crowder after progressing through Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series.
Hardy had previously been suspended and placed on an NFL exempt list stemming from a domestic violence incident that occurred while he was playing for the Carolina Panthers in 2014.
The decision to put both fighters on the same billing has been described as 'tone deaf' by ESPN MMA journalist Ariel Helwani and has received plenty of criticism online.
Greg Hardy's UFC debut targeted for Jan. 19, per Dana White. That's the first ESPN+ card, on the UFC/ESPN deal. https://t.co/k1ODh2O4Md
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 5, 2018
Greg Hardy’s eventual UFC debut was always going to be controversial and met with heavy criticism. However, to debut him on the same card as Rachael Ostovich (on the first ESPN card, no less) is a dubious decision at best and incredibly tone-deaf. https://t.co/lqd8BYW9GA
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) December 5, 2018
.@bokamotoESPN is reporting that Greg Hardy will make his UFC debut on the same Jan. 19 card that Rachael Ostovich will fight on. That’s incredibly poor judgment by the UFC and so easily avoidable.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) December 5, 2018
Yes, as several folks have pointed out — Greg Hardy is expected to make his UFC debut...on the same card as Rachael Ostovich. https://t.co/DSiKWkrZPa
— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) December 5, 2018
Very interesting Greg Hardy’s first UFC fight is on the big ESPN debut, given ESPN surely had to have given the idea the thumbs up (if not played a larger role). Totally plays into the discussion about their complicity in minimizing NFL domestic violence.
— Todd Martin (@ToddMartinMMA) December 5, 2018