Dan Hardy is not a fan of hunting or hunters - at least, not the recreational kind.
And so he finds himself again condemning former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes, with the addition of former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.
Hughes recently posted a photograph to his personal website in which he can be seen posing with the carcass of a large black bear he has killed. The photograph ignited debate on the MMA message boards and left Hardy sickened.
“I just can't agree with what he's doing, and I can't find any way for him to justify it. I'm sure there are ways that he's convinced himself that it's ok, but in my opinion, every human being innately has morals. They know what's right and wrong, and whether it's legal or not, it's the wrong thing to do. It's not illegal to sleep with your best friend's wife, but if you do it, you're an asshole,” he tells Bloody Elbow staffer Stephanie 'Crooklyn' Daniels.
“I don't think that humans are in any way elevated above the other species that are on the planet. For somebody to think it's ok to go out and shoot one of them, because it's not illegal, I just don't make the connection. If it's illegal to shoot human beings, it should be illegal to shoot animals, as well.
“Now, as far as hunting for food goes, that's a different thing. If I needed to kill an animal for food, I would. To go out there and shoot them for his own entertainment...I mean, he's not going out there and having bear sandwiches for lunch off his kill, that's for sure.
“The fact that he had to go out and find it tells me that it wasn't an over population issue. The same situation happened with the bobcat. He had to go in search for the damned thing before he could kill it. It's not like it was near his house. If he were standing next to it in his back yard, that might be a different situation, but I still wouldn't be proud of that.”
And lest people think he is picking on Hughes in an attempt to coerce the ageing former champion into a rematch, Hardy demurs. For him its an argument based on intelligence and common decency.
“Out of all the species, we're the only one that has evolved enough to have a set of morals and be able to co-exist with the other species, and people like Matt Hughes, reading from his bible, and interpreting however he wants, going out there and shooting animals for fun, it's just ignorant and calculated. I just can't agree with him,” he says.
“People say, 'Oh, you're just calling out an aging welterweight. He was the champion, and he's done more than you.' It's not about mixed martial arts. I don't like Brock Lesnar for his ethics on hunting, either. I'm not saying these things about Matt Hughes because I want to fight him.
“I mean, if the opportunity was there, I would, but it's a completely different subject. I respect him as a champion, but that doesn't mean he's not an asshole as a person. He's proven that he is.”