Shamed NFL star turned UFC heavyweight contender Greg Hardy has continuously brushed off questions about his previous legal troubles. That changed on Saturday evening after his career-best win over Maurice Greene at UFC Vegas 12. Speaking to media post-fight Hardy revealed his past issues cropped up once again just hours before he was supposed to take the Octagon.

“Some people from my past coming to extort me, put me in crazy situations, try to take food out of my family’s mouth, and (there were) a lot of outside circumstances going on,” Hardy said. “I was breaking down in my bathroom before I even started to fight. I was in tears trying to figure out how we’re going to function and if I could go on. It was just a lot of drama, man – people trying to take advantage of my situation.”

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Hardy did not elaborate on the exact situation but claimed people had been trying to take advantage of him before claiming he is not the man many believe he is.

“They’re trying to prey on me, man,” Hardy said. “You guys know me by now. I would’ve jumped off a building or done so crazy T.O. stuff if I was that guy you’re always talking about. I’m not. I never will be. I’m a good guy. I’ve been a good guy – an innocent man. I always have been.”

Five years ago Hardy was found guilty of assaulting a woman after an incident in Charlotte, North Carolina. According to the police report, Hardy threw the victim onto a pile of semi-automatic assault weapons before strangling her and suggesting he should kill her.

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The case was later dismissed after Hardy reportedly reached a financial settlement with the victim who became untraceable to law enforcement.

Hardy claimed he has previously not spoken about his legal issues in an effort ot protect his family but insisted moving forward he would be openly discussing the truth.  

“The hate against me was so loud that you would’ve never believed me,” Hardy said. “Nobody would ever believe me. I’ve been telling you the same thing since literally Day 1. From the very beginning, I’ve said the same exact thing. Now, it’s just the time to where I’m in a place where I brought myself back. My family is safe from being targeted. My financial situation is not. My career is not. My family is safe. So now I can actually start to put the truth out there. “I have a son. I have a daughter, who carries my last name. I need that name cleared. My little brother is about to try to get in the NBA and the NFL. I need them to have that name and be proud to wear that name and not be persecuted and not be talked about and not be brought down by that name because it’s not right. That’s why I’m doing it.” (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)

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Do you think Greg Hardy is an innocent man?

A lifelong fight fan from Liverpool, England who has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) and boxing for several years. Follow @JordanEllisUK on Twitter for all the latest fight news, views, interviews and live event coverage.