Controversy erupts over UFC's 'tone deaf and insensitive' decision

UFC president Dana White has announced the controversial decision to hand ex-NFL player Greg Hardy an official UFC debut in January.

Hardy, then a member of the Carolina Panthers, was in 2014 convicted on two counts of domestic violence after being arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend.

He was sentenced to probation and suspended jail time, but he appealed the decision.

The charges were dropped when his ex-girlfriend failed to appear to testify in front of a jury, and the entire incident was eventually expunged from his record.

Police photos of the incident – and of his ex-girlfriend’s injuries – were eventually released by Deadspin.

Hardy is set to fight Allen Crowder at the first live UFC event broadcast on streaming service ESPN+ but the decision has been condemned in the MMA world.

Greg Hardy is set to make his official UFC debut in January. Pic: Getty

The heavyweight will share the card with Rachael Ostovich, who will fight Paige VanZant in a women’s flyweight bout at the Brooklyn event.

Ostovich recently had her orbital bone broken in an alleged attack by her husband. The injury sent her to the hospital and initially put her fight against VanZant in doubt.

Ostovich’s husband, Arnold Berdon, has been charged with second degree assault and the case is still under investigation.

The timing was criticised by Hardy’s opponent, despite Crowder welcoming the fight – in part as a chance to hand out an “a**-whooping”.

“The UFC, they’re all about making that money, and I highly doubt whoever done this thought about (Ostovich),” Crowder told MMAjunkie.

“There is a chance they didn’t think about her, and that’s just totally wrong, especially after what she just went through.

Rachael Ostovich will fight in January despite suffering a broken orbital bone in a recent attack. Pic: Getty

“Really, it’s up to me to put a stop to what they’re trying to do and set a good example and show you’re not supposed to beat women, and give him a good lesson learned.”

MMA experts and fans were among those joining Crowder in condemning the UFC’s decision:

Remarkably, the UFC didn’t have to make such an insensitive decision.

According to ESPN, Hardy was originally scheduled fight in a regional show in Florida on December 21.

But the UFC decided to seal the deal on his quick call-up and pull him from that event so he could make his big debut as the company makes its maiden appearance on ESPN+.

Putting Hardy on the same card as Ostovich will certainly bring the event more publicity, and it won’t be the good kind.

with Yahoo Sports