Dan Hardy: Pay Structure May Affect Fighters’ Strategy



Clay Guida caught plenty of criticism from fans for using an evasive strategy against Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4. One of his biggest critics, however, was fellow fighter Dan Hardy.

Hardy recently joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Savage Dog Show” to discuss Guida, fighting as entertainment, his own place in the UFC and more.

Hardy on Guida’s performance against Maynard: “The thing is, Clay went in there to do a job and he did his job. Greg Jackson’s also got a job to do, which is to -- I think Kenny Florian stated it quite well -- it’s to make sure his fighter gets in there and wins. I agree with that, but on the flip side, it really comes down to the definition of what fighting is, and running away from somebody and playing tag and scoring points is not a fight to me, not really. It changes the face of the sport.

On why fans watch MMA: People tune in, first and foremost, to be entertained. There’s only a small percentage of MMA fans that are really interested in where people fall in the rankings. They just want to see a tear-up. They want to see somebody get punched in the face and fall over. You can hear it when the fight’s going on, that the crowd are booing. People don’t want to see one person running away. You can’t have a fight unless two fighters show up. Unfortunately on that show, on that fight, Gray Maynard was the only one who came ready for a fight.”

On Guida’s past performances and why some fighters might not engage: “We’ve all seen him fight. We saw his fight against [Diego] Sanchez and all those other crazy ones where they were back-and-forth wars. He’s got a great pace and he’s a fantastic fighter. So really, for me, that showed that he made the choice of going in there and fighting that way. And whether that was down to his coaches convincing him or what, I don’t know, but I do think a lot of the responsibility is on the fighter.

“But at the same time, I think pay scale could be an issue as well. I think that there could be a way of paying people so there’s not a massive amount of money resting on winning and losing. I mean, 50 percent of purse pretty much is a win bonus for most people. If you win the fight, you get double the money. For a lot of people, double the money is what they need in order to cover their training camps. It’s really difficult. We need a little bit more money turning towards the fighters and we need the fighters with a bit more of an aggressive work ethic.”

On his own style of fighting and why he wasn’t cut after four straight losses: “The UFC realizes that fans are paying for tickets to be entertained. People aren’t sitting their with scorecards and stuff and making sure that we’re getting the right decisions so the right person in the rankings is going to move up. The UFC wants fighters that are going to sell tickets and that are going to entertain the fans and sometimes save the show from those kinds of fights where we are looking for a number one contender … . We need a balance of fights that you know are going to be good and fights that are going to determine who’s the best in the world. Fortunately, after I fell out of the who’s-the-best-fighter-in-the-world category, I fell into the always-entertaining-fights category.

“… In comparison to a lot of guys, I’m not difficult to deal with. I always show up. I always do what I’m supposed to do, even if it’s not always winning. I’m always going to show up and give it everything I’ve got. I just think the UFC respected that, and I appreciate the opportunities. And the other thing is, I think they look to the people that I’ve lost to and realized that I’ve not exactly had the easiest of runs. I got the world champion, the interim champion and then a guy who can’t even make middleweight anymore.”

Listen to the full interview (beginning at 52:44).

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