Greg Hardy continues to rack up wins in the UFC’s Octagon — and live at the center of controversy.
Hardy (6-1) picked up his third UFC win Friday, as he defeated Ben Sosoli (7-3) via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night at Boston’s TD Garden. All three judges scored the heavyweight contest 29-28 in favor of Hardy.
The bout was not without controversy, however. Between the second and third rounds, UFC cameras picked up Hardy asking his corner whether he was allowed to use an inhaler. Hardy then used the inhaler, which UFC vice president of regulatory affairs Marc Ratner referred to as “completely illegal” on the UFC broadcast.
According to information provided later in the broadcast, however, a representative from the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission told Hardy he could use the inhaler, and the UFC’s anti-doping partner, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), does allow the use of certain inhalers during competition.
Prior to the inhaler issue, Hardy showed a much more measured pace than his previous heavyweight fights. Going into Friday, all but one of his pro fights had ended inside the first round. The only one not to, a UFC bout against Allen Crowder in January, ended in a loss when Hardy was disqualified for an illegal strike.
The former NFL defensive end out-landed Sosoli, who is from Australia, 54 to 26 in total strikes, but looked gassed in the final round. Sosoli turned up his aggression a little late, but it wasn’t enough to come back from a two-round hole. Hardy also threw several head kicks in the contest, which is a new wrinkle in his game.
Hardy’s emergence as a mixed martial arts prospect and UFC fighter has been well documented this year, as he has stepped back into the spotlight for the first time since he was exiled from the NFL. Hardy was convicted of domestic violence in 2014, before charges were later expunged from his record.