Heather Hardy reveals career likely over due to ‘too much brain damage’

A few weeks ago, Heather Hardy was preparing for a bare-knuckle fight against BKFC champion Christine Ferea. But now it appears her career is over.

The 42-year-old combat sports veteran, who primarily competed in boxing before embarking on a four-fight run with Bellator MMA, announced that she’s stepping back from fighting due to repeated concussions, which she stated has left her with brain damage. Hardy was originally scheduled to compete on May 11 in the BKFC title fight with Ferea, but was pulled from the bout just days before the event.

Now Hardy has broken her silence to explain the medical diagnosis that effectively ended her career.

“My fight for May 11 is off,” Hardy wrote on Instagram. “After my fight last summer with Amanda [Serrano], my vision remained blurred for a few days. I went for an MRI and to get my eyes checked while I was still in [Texas] and it was diagnosed the after effects of a concussion. [In six to eight] months, I should be fine. So basically I needed a fight, and it never got better. My daughter is in college. Everyone thinks I made millions in my career but I didn’t. I went paycheck to paycheck keeping that kid in the best neighborhood so she could go to the best schools. And I needed to take the fight, so long story short a month into training for Christine and everything got worse with my sight.

“I was down to 123 pounds because I couldn’t eat, I wasn’t sleeping, I was so weak. I hadn’t told anyone how bad it was, not my boyfriend not my coaches. I thought I could make it through the ten minute fight, but after a very light sparring session i couldn’t see shit for two days. I didn’t eat or sleep Friday to Monday, and I knew I was too weak to do this shit. After finally seeing a doctor, he said I’ve had too many concussions. When you have a concussion, a piece of your brain dies and you never get it back. Imagine that? In ten years I’ve had too much brain damage. I can’t get any more or else I won’t be able to see. No running, no jogging, no jumping rope, and no getting hit in the head.”

While she never used the word “retirement,” Hardy closed her statement with “so I said the thing … you know what that means,” along with a caption on her video reading, “I’m not fighting May 11, I have brain damage.”

Hardy had a late start to her boxing career, debuting in 2012 when she was 28 years old. Despite that, she put together an impressive undefeated run through her first 22 fights. She captured several titles along the way, but suffered her first defeat to Amanda Serrano in 2019.

In the rematch this past August, Hardy lost a lopsided decision to Serrano after absorbing 278 punishing punches over 10 rounds.

During her brief MMA career, Hardy put together a 2-2 record in Bellator, with her final appearance coming in 2019 in a loss to Taylor Turner by first-round TKO.

If her career is really over, Hardy retires with a 24-3 record with one no-contest in boxing, a 2-2 record in MMA, and also competed in kickboxing and Muay Thai bouts over the years.

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