Heather Hardy Impresses Mightily in MMA Debut, Gets KO on Bellator Card at Madison Square Garden



Heather Hardy Impresses Mightily in MMA Debut, Gets KO on Bellator Card at Madison Square Garden

SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Well, Heather Hardy, that MMA debut could not have gone much better, could it?

“Perfect end to a perfect week,” the 20-0 boxer and 1-0 MMAer, now under the Bellator umbrella in the cage sport, told me. “Bruises and stitches and all. My opponent was tough as hell and all class. It was so much fun in there.”

Hmmm…any thoughts of jumping ship into the MMA vessel, full time, waving bye to boxing? Does she now like the cage better than the ring?

“Not comparable, two different loves. Like wine and whiskey. Room for both,” the role model, who braved seven stitches to close a gash on her left eye,  told me.

Anything she want to add? “Just that I'm the happiest girl on the planet right now!”

NOTE: My ten year old Annabelle watched the fight, along with her six year old sister and me and their mom. “Daddy,” Annabelle told me after, “Heather is like Wonder Woman!”


The average adult will have something like 7 different jobs in their lifetime. Heather Hardy is a role model for that stat and call for ability to adapt; she showed a facility for transitioning in the vocational arena, going from the ring to a cage, seamlessly, Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, fighting on a Bellator promotion.

Hardy, 20-0 as a professional boxer, won her pro MMA debut after training for a year, stopping out Alice “Soccer Mom” Yauger, at 4:47 seconds elapsed into the third and final round at the mecca, in the first bout shown on a Spike broadcast.

Yauger was in Hardy’s face in round one, a close one, but the Brooklyn single mom got more comfortable in round two. Her kickboxing background helped, as she used leg kicks to help soften the Texan. In round three, a head butt opened a sick gash on the winner’s left eye. She got a break, after the doc gave a long look, making sure no bone was showing… then got to work. A right hand stunned Yauger, dropper her, and the 35 year old victor smelled blood, and she went into combo mode. She let Yauger rise, then went after her like she owed her money. With the clock ticking down, Hardy, repping Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn,  flurried with controlled fury.

“Yo…Guys, everybody knows the toughest girls are from Brooklyn New York, and we showed em tonight,” the Gleason's hitter Hardy said after, to interviewer Jimmy Smith.

Her glee was obvious and endearing, as she was interviewed by Smith. “I was like oh my gosh, my hands were hurting from hitting her,” Hardy said, giggling.

Chants of “Hardy were heard throughout the fight, and all present, and watching, had to be impressed with her compusure, stamina, skills range and agility. And of course, the hands. Yauger was game, but by round two, the boxing edge was too much for Hardy. As far as debuts go, it couldn't have gone all that much better. Sure, she will have some stitches, but that is nothing new for the 1-0 MMAer. What is new is she's now a notable figure in two fight sports.

The day before, Yauger was optimistic. Those hands made her a realist, in that cage, that night.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.