Hardy On How Boxing Politics Kept Out Of Bellator
It has been over a year since Heather Hardy had her third fight inside the Bellator cage.
The Brooklyn born boxer turned to MMA in 2017 after being disgruntled with the politics and lack of big money for women in boxing. Since then, Hardy debuted with a vicious brawl in her Bellator debut, suffered a doctor’s stoppage loss in her second fight, and would snag a decision win at Bellator 194.
Now, after will be an 18 month break from MMA, Hardy steps back into the cage at Bellator 222 on June 14 inside Madison Square Garden and told FIGHT SPORTS on Tuesday that what kept her out of the cage were the politics of boxing.
“I really wanted to back in February, when they had (Bellator 215 and 16) at Mohegan,” Hardy said following Bellator’s press conference.
“There were talks of a potential unification bout in boxing… I put Bellator on the shelf thinking this was going to be a huge fight for women’s boxing, and it never materialized, so when that happened it was extremely disappointing that I missed my opportunity (with) Bellator.
“So, when I heard they were coming back to New York, I told my manager, ‘do what you have to do to, get me on that show.'”
When Hardy found out that not only she would be on the card, but a part of the launch presser, the boxer was surprised that she was even on the dais.
“Part of me felt like I don’t belong here with these incredible athletes,” Hardy told FIGHT SPORTS. “Then on the other hand I have a huge following in New York City, there’s no secret I’m gonna sell a ton of tickets to this fight.”
“In boxing I paid my dues, for a long, long time,” Hardy continued about her standing in women’s MMA.
“I fought all the fights I was supposed to fight, did all the little bouts, did all the steps. I’ve not done that in MMA, yet… I feel it’s unfair to the girls who are trying to pay their dues and work their way up, for me to turn around and say ‘I deserve this because people know who I am.’ These are girls who dedicate their life to (mma), if I dedicate a whole year, four fights in a row, who knows.”
While Hardy is set for Bellator 222 on June 14th, she has no opponent yet. Be sure to follow FIGHT SPORTS on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more coverage of Bellator’s return to Madison Square Garden.