It seemed like a pretty normal week for UFC welterweight Dan Hardy as he was going through his medical examinations ahead of his UFC on Fox 7 showdown against Matt Brown scheduled for April 20 in California.
All fighters are required to go through testing before being licensed to ensure full health with things like a blood test, physical and other examinations.
This time around, however, as Hardy was fighting in California, the commission also required an EKG (electrocardiogram), and the results ended up forcing the British fighter off the card.
Late Thursday night, after the UFC announced that Hardy was injured, he actually revealed the true nature of the ailment that was keeping him off the card and out of his fight with Brown.
Dan Hardy @danhardymma
Sorry guys, I couldn't be more disappointed. Turns out I have a wolf heart and the California commission won't clear me to fight...2013-3-22 06:09:49
Dan Hardy @danhardymma
Wolf heart = two heart beats. It's an evolutionary enhancement and the commission see it as an unfair advantage.2013-3-22 06:25:41
Since that time, Hardy has actually changed his Twitter handle to "Wolfheart," which references the name of the affliction that he suffers from. The California State Athletic Commission did not feel comfortable enough with his condition to clear him to fight.
On Friday, Hardy's manager Wad Alameddine released a statement to Bleacher Report (originally posted on AddictedMMA.com) that explained what happened and why the former welterweight title contender will not be fighting at UFC on Fox 7.
There’s been a lot of speculation online in the last 24 hours or so regarding Mr Hardy being forced out of his fight with Matt Brown next month, so I wanted to clarify the situation and provide some details.
On Tuesday this week Dan went and had his medicals done as per normal, however because the fight is in California there was an EKG performed as well as the usual standard medicals done in every other states (normally; blood work, physical, MRI, etc).
On Wednesday his EKG results came back showing an irregularity, which has been diagnosed as Wolff Parkinson White Syndrome, which incidentally my wife also suffers from. However unlike my wife who has symptoms of the syndrome (including heart palpitations and tachycardia), Dan has never shown any symptoms of the syndrome and therefore it has come as a surprise to us all as this is something you are born with, rather than develop.
Since this news, Dan has been back to hospital and had several tests run on him with a cardiologist, which included an Ultrasound as well as a high-level stress test to study his heart and how it responds to exercise. To say Dan has a very strong and healthy heart would be an understatement! The tests he did not only showed he has a phenomenal resting heart rate of 42bpm, but he also broke the record for the stress test he did which was held by a marathon runner for over a year.
Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome is regarded as "a heart condition in which there is an abnormal extra electrical pathway of the heart. The condition can lead to episodes of rapid heart rate" (per the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia, h/t PubMed Health). While the disease is not life-threatening in most cases, it can cause serious heart issues in some sufferers.
Unfortunately, the California State Athletic Commission opted to err on the side of caution and deny Hardy a fight license, which effectively pulled him from his UFC on Fox 7 fight with Matt Brown.
Sadly the commission will not clear him for the fight with Brown so the UFC were forced to draft in Jordan Mein as a replacement for Dan. It’s a great shame that the athletic commission simply take a reading from an EKG and decide whether he can or cannot fight, rather than looking at the evidence of the last 30 years of Dan’s life without a single symptom of the syndrome, the 10 year sports career he’s had, and the tests he’s also performed this week amongst other things.
As you can imagine with everything (we felt) stacked in our favour, the “not cleared to fight” message we received was a very big shock, particularly after 10 years of competition and no issues. Anyway right now we’re talking to the UFC about what’s next and we’ll keep everyone updated as and when we have further information.
Hardy will continue to deal with the UFC as he looks to gain clearance and return to action sooner rather than later.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.