Jun 19, 2018

Former NFL player gets a second chance in UFC despite abusive past

Greg Hardy after his recent victory. Photo by Jeff Bottari/DWTNCS LLC via Getty Images

Former NFL player Greg Hardy recently won his first pro mixed martial arts fight, reportedly earning a "development contract" with the UFC — which was acquired in 2016 for $4 billion by talent agency Endeavor with the help of private equity firms KKR and Silver Lake. It doesn't mean Hardy will necessarily fight for the UFC, but he's on that path if he continues to succeed in showcase matches organized by UFC president Dana White.

Why it matters: 29-year-old Hardy had 40 NFL sacks, but he’s better known for brutally beating his ex-girlfriend and being convicted of assault. That conviction was later dismissed on appeal, as the victim declined to cooperate after reportedly receiving a settlement from Hardy. But Deadspin unearthed photos, interviews and police reports that leave little doubt as to the horrific nature of his attack.

Dana White once said: “There’s one thing that you never bounce back from and that’s putting your hands on a woman. Been that way in the UFC since we started here.” So much for that.

The big question, therefore, is why neither Endeavor nor its private equity partners are stepping in. WME, for example, once stopped representing Mel Gibson for his anti-semitism and misogyny, but is hands-off here. KKR (which promotes its ESG policies) and Silver Lake would never hire a portfolio company CEO with Hardy's track record, let alone as an employee at their own firms. All three declined comment.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to correct references to "WME Endeavor" to just "Endeavor."

Go deeper

Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release women identified to have signed three nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.