Greg Hardy, the former Pro Bowl defensive end whose NFL career was short-circuited by several issues, including a domestic violence conviction that was later dismissed, will undergo anger management counseling as he continues to train in preparation for his professional MMA debut.
Hardy and his MMA manager, Malki Kawa, announced the news Monday on The MMA Hour with host Ariel Helwani. As Hardy continues his training with well-known MMA camp American Top Team, he still isn't sure when he will debut.
"I would love to debut tomorrow, but like I said, I've got a lot of respect for my coaches and the actual sport," Hardy said. "Seeing ... how hard these guys work, it's pretty much going to be, like Mal said, up to the coaches."
In the meantime, the 28-year-old Hardy, who spent time with the Carolina Panthers and Dallas Cowboys but hasn't played since the 2015 season and is currently a free agent with no serious suitors, will undergo anger management counseling beginning next Monday, according to Kawa.
"He'll do that for as long as he has to," Kawa said. "He understands the rules he has to abide by."
Asked if he has an anger problem and if MMA helps him, Hardy said training has "helped me in a lot of ways."
"I have a lot of problems as a human being," he said. "It's not something that you do where you just walk around saying, 'I'm perfect' or 'I'm good.' I have a lot of different issues that I'm definitely working through and working on. I would say this helps me channel everything. ...
"I made mistakes, and I've hurt people. I'm sorry that all that happened."
Hardy rejected—perhaps unconvincingly—the suggestion he is only pursuing MMA because his NFL career appears to be over.
"I do not think that is fair," he said. "I think it's something I've been wanting to do for a while—as far as boxing and MMA and just getting into the business and cross-training—because it's wonderful for football players. It actually helps an athlete take the next step into molding his game into something completely different."
In 2014, Hardy was convicted of assaulting his ex-girlfriend, though the chargers were dismissed in 2015 as his appeal was set to begin. He was suspended by the NFL, but the Cowboys took a chance on him anyway, only to be rewarded with locker-room destabilization. Hardy was arrested in September for possession of cocaine.
On Sunday, TMZ Sports published videos of Hardy at ATT, which houses several elite UFC competitors. Former UFC heavyweight Antonio Silva told TMZ Sports he believes Hardy could be in the UFC in one or two years.
"I felt like joining the team and joining those guys was something that was a step that I had to take to change what I had going on in my life," Hardy said.