Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy punches guys in the face for a living.
Hailing from Nottingham, England, Hardy is a Mixed Martial Arts fighter whose had his fair share of fame. After several years in the professional circuit, Hardy took a year off to train and refocus, until finally returning to the octagon last Saturday, May 26th, at UFC 146. Leading up to his comeback fight (and victory) last weekend, filmmaker and Blood for Blood bassist Ian Mcfarland released a short documentary featuring Hardy discussing his anxieties about fighting, fitting in, his future, and finding meaning and peace in life. In the film, Hardy expresses his feelings of isolation from mainstream society, finding solace outside the ring only in the presence of his family, and the pit of hardcore and punk shows — a feeling I can empathize with.
But then again, I don’t knock guys out as a career. Hardy explains the emotional intensity fighters experience before, during, and after a fight, and how the fans who watch him have no idea what it’s like to live up to the expectations of being a professional fighter.
The film is a fascinating look into the mind of a man who enjoys punching dudes in the face, and his struggles to find a place in the world, and does an excellent job of painting him as more than just an athlete we watch beat the piss outta people; he’s a human asking the same questions we all have at one point or another. I came away with an immense respect for Hardy — not just as a fighter, but as a human being.