Greg Hardy may not have won his UFC 249 bout on Saturday if it was fought in front of a full crowd in the event at Jacksonville, Fla.
The disgraced former NFL star defeated Yorgan De Castro by unanimous decision in the opening fight of the pay-per-view card because of a tip he heard from ringside announcer Daniel Cormier that he wouldn’t under normal circumstances.
But there was nothing normal about this event that took place in front of no fans at the VyStar Veteras Memorial and social distancing protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Thank God for not having the crowd,” Hardy told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview. “Shout out to DC. I heard him tell me to check him, so I started trying to check him. Game changer.”
Hardy improved to 6-2 in his UFC career.
Hardy, who played for the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys, hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2015 season.
The former Pro Bowl defensive end wasn’t picked up by any NFL team after his domestic violence conviction that was later overturned when the alleged victim declined to cooperate with prosecution on appeal.
Hardy wasn’t the first fighter to thank Cormier on Saturday.
Carla Esparza, who defeated Michelle Waterson with a split decision victory in the undercard, told reporters after her win that she changed tactics during the bout because of what Courmier said and won the fight fight because of it.
But Niko Price must not have been listening to Courmier’s analysis during his bout.
Price lost his welterweight rematch with Vicente Luque by TKO with his right eye swollen shut after taking a beating in the second and third rounds.
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