Former NFL player Greg Hardy was disqualified just minutes into his UFC debut at the Barclays Center in New York on Saturday night.
Hardy, who played for the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys, was charged with assaulting his girlfriend in 2014 and was punished by the NFL. However, the domestic violence charges were later dropped.
After being cut by the Cowboys in 2016, Hardy failed to find another employer in the NFL. He subsequently transitioned to MMA.
Hardy, who went into last night's fight with a 3-0 pro MMA record, was disqualified for an illegal knee after 2:23 of the second round. Opponent Allen Crowder had one knee on the ground when Hardy landed a knee to his head.
The fight was the co-main event on the UFC's first ever ESPN+ card.
"I was aware of the rule as it stands; I was not aware that that was what was going on," the 30-year-old heavyweight told ESPN after fight.
"I got deep into the fight, was in the moment, was trying to time it and I mistimed it. For that to end my day, man, is a hard pill to swallow, man. And it's a hard way to go down, especially when I wanted to portray a lot of appreciation and show everyone that I'm here to do it the right way, man.
"This is not how I wanted to do things. And I just hope everybody understands this is not who I am, that it's not something that I would do purposely."
He also told reporters that he is not a cheater.
Greg Hardy: "I'm not a cheater. Go ask Tom Brady if I ever cheated all the times I sacked him. 30 years of life, never once have I cheated." #UFCBrooklyn
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohn) January 20, 2019
This is the moment of controversy.