UFC's Dan Hardy Declines Heart Surgery, Hopes for Return to the Octagon

Kyle SymesCorrespondent IIIApril 2, 2013

May 26, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Dan Hardy reacts to the win over Duane Ledwig (not pictured) during UFC 146 at the MGM Grand Garden event center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC welterweight title challenger Dan Hardy recently discovered he's suffering from a rare heat disorder, but he says he isn't going to let any doctors tinker with his ticker.

Hardy spoke to USA Today Monday about his decision to forgo surgery.

"I don't see a reason why I would let someone go in and start messing with it," he said. "That's an easy decision to make."

The English fighter was red-flagged by the California State Athletic Commission when an electrocardiogram revealed markers of Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. Although there's no guaranteed fix for the disorder, a surgical procedure could in effect give Hardy extra time in MMA if it works.

But a couple of extra fights added on may not be something Hardy views as a positive.

"I know I'm approaching the end of my career," Hardy said. "I've got to weigh whether it's worth me taking the risk and getting the surgery to have a couple more fights I might not enjoy being a part of anyway."

Hardy has always been very in touch with his spiritual life and has taken numerous retreats away from society. He's always been a competitor and is no doubt a fighter but it's what goes on outside the cage that has Hardy considering his options.

"The business side of it is cutthroat, and at times it can be very unfair," he said. "The meatheadedness around it, I don't like any of it. It's just ego for the sake of ego, and I can't evolve into the person that I want to be in my life while being a part of it."

Hardy now places his fate in the hands of the UFC, but the Englishman seems optimistic about his chances:

They're not options for me. They're options for the UFC and whether they want to take a risk and whether, in fact, they see me as a risk. Everyone's seen my fights. I never make an easy night of it. It's always a scrap. I've been in the trenches, and I've never had any problems.

Hardy's run of competing in the United States is likely over, given that any athletic commission is likely to red-flag him prior to competing, especially if he doesn't take any action to correct the issue.

His saving grace could be that the UFC oftentimes acts as its own athletic commission overseas, which could allow Hardy to fight abroad. It wouldn't be a bad move by the UFC, as Hardy has always been a bigger draw with international fans than here in America. 

Yet putting his life at risk, or even risking the sight of a heart complication in the Octagon, could cause a PR nightmare. For the UFC, that may well outweigh the benefits of extending Hardy's career without surgery, so his professional fighting career may be over with this news.