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Mayweather-McGregor call will culminate Dan Hardy's transition away from UFC punk rock bandit

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Following an exhaustive 11 consecutive weeks of UFC events, Dan Hardy had set aside August for some long overdue upkeep on his Leicestershire home in the English midlands.

Living with his wife Lacey in what was originally a church house for the past four years, Hardy is yet to still fully unpack all the belongings that returned with him from Las Vegas after his UFC career was cruelly cut short by a heart condition known as Wolff–Parkinson–White syndrome. But those August plans for refining his residence were immediately put on hold when the UFC color commentator and analyst received an unexpected phone call from an equally unlikely source.

It was media conglomerate Sky Sports, and they had called to offer Hardy the position of co-commentator from their pay-preview broadcast of the boxing match between UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor (21-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and the 49-0, five-division kingpin Floyd Mayweather.

Hardy gratefully accepted the role, which will see him joined in the commentary booth by British former four-time boxing world champion Carl Froch. Considering the 35-year-old intended to watch the historic bout on the sofa with his dog, it’s certainly been quite the turn of events.

Dan Hardy interviews Jack Hermansson at UFC Fight Night 109.

“I was very surprised,” Hardy told MMAjunkie. “It’s nice that the space between the UFC and Sky has closed a bit. I have a lot of respect for Sky, not necessarily for reaching out to me, but for reaching out to anybody in the MMA community to try and give some balance to this commentary.

“This is such an unprecedented event, and it wouldn’t really do it justice just to have boxing commentators there because there are so many things Conor brings to the table, and there are so many things worth knowing about his MMA career that nobody in the boxing world is really touching on.”

Since his transition from fighter to media member, Hardy has garnered a reputation as one of the most canny, insightful analysts in the sport, and he hopes to bring those observational skills to bear over the coming weeks. Indeed, Hardy is palpably determined to offer a point of view he believes to have been sorely lacking to date in the conversation surrounding Mayweather and McGregor.

“I just don’t think that anybody is really putting a logical argument forward for Conor,” Hardy said. “I’ve spoken about Brendan Schaub, who is Conor’s biggest fan, but he’s not really putting anything logical together.

“Nobody else is either, and I feel kind of sad for Conor because he has redefined the sport of MMA in just four years. Why should we count him out now? That’s my motivation, to try and give everybody a fair shout. I’m not there to tell people who will win; I’m there to explain that either fighter can win – and how.”

Hardy was interviewed via Skype by Sky Sports when news of the contest between Mayweather and McGregor was first announced, but there was little evidence to suggest that he’d be hearing from them again any time soon.

BT Sport has been the UFC’s broadcast partner in the U.K. and Ireland since 2013, but the company was outbid by Sky for the PPV rights of the showdown at T-Mobile Arena. Hardy believes Sky enlisted his services after quickly discerning just how much of their potential success in this venture depends on the MMA fanbase.

“I’m not sure Sky realized how much of an impact the MMA community is going to have on their pay-per-view sales,” Hardy said. “Once they did, they probably thought it worth having a voice familiar to those fans and decided to give me a shout. I’m just thankful to Sky and the UFC for putting me in this position.

“I certainly feel very privileged to be stepping into that role, but just the fact that Sky have reached out to anyone is a positive step forward for MMA and the UFC.”



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