Thursday, June 13, 2024

Former NFL star Shawne Merriman says Dana White attempted to book him a UFC fight against Greg Hardy | BJPenn.com

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UFC president Dana White allegedly tried to book an Octagon clash between former NFL stars Shawne Merriman and Greg Hardy.

Merriman and Hardy were two of the most explosive athletes in the NFL during their professional football careers. Since retiring from football, both men have transitioned into combat sports in different roles, and Merriman launched his own promotion in 2019.

Hardy made his professional MMA debut on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2018, earning a first-round knockout over Austen Lane. A win just two months later over Tebaris Gordon would clinch him a spot on the UFC roster.

Merriman and Hardy are passionate about fighting; and while Merriman hasn’t fought in the cage, that allegedly didn’t stop White from nearly pulling off an unprecedented booking.

Shawne Merriman vs. Greg Hardy nearly booked for UFC event

In a recent interview on The Anik & Florian Podcast, Merriman explained how he nearly fought in the UFC Octagon.

“About five or six years ago, no one was gonna tell me I wasn’t gonna fight somebody,” Merriman said. “In fact, I talked to Dana [White] about it, he wanted to book a fight with me and Greg Hardy a few years ago. I know he wanted it to happen, I wanted it to happen, and it was a timing thing…

“Why I ended up not doing it is because Greg went on a losing streak…and [the appeal] wasn’t the same, but it almost happened.”

Hardy went 4-5-1 in his UFC tenure with wins over Yorgan De Castro and Maurice Greene. He parted ways with the UFC in 2022 after a loss to Serghei Spivac at UFC 272.

Hardy has transitioned from MMA to boxing in recent months. He most recently suffered a brutal knockout loss in his return to the ring in May.

Merriman’s Lights Out Xtreme Fighting promotion has surged in popularity in recent years. The promotion’s upcoming June 15th event features former UFC heavyweight Jared Vanderaa and a lightweight championship main event.

If Merriman’s claims are true, White almost added an all-NFL matchup to one of the UFC’s previous event slates. While the fight didn’t come to fruition, the targeted matchup shows that White is still willing to go outside the box in matchmaking.

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