Tuesday, December 05, 2023  |


Heather Hardy fights for pay equality for female fighters

Photo credit: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment
Fighters Network

Was it a coincidence that Heather Hardy took to Instagram on Thursday to lay out a little logic and make her case clear regarding equality in the workplace, on the same day the current crew of the US House of Representatives convened in DC, and showed off the most women (102) in their ranks, by far?

I think not, but let’s ask Hardy herself.

The hitter, who boasts a 22-0 mark, has been busy on social media the last few days. It started out when comments were made which testified to the brilliance of the UFC clash between Amanda Nunes and Cris Cyborg. That started a snowball effect, with non-fans of the women’s boxing scene making themselves known in her feeds.

Being a Brooklyn gal, unafraid to pipe up, speak her peace, drop an eff bomb or three in the course of that, Hardy laid out some info which rubbed some wrongly.

The 36-year-old, who will likely glove up with Jelena Mrdjenovich (38-1-2) next, noted that the main event of the Oct. 27 HBO main event, featuring Danny Jacobs against fellow middleweight Sergey Derevyanchenko, drew comparable numbers to Hardy’s bout, against Shelly Vincent, which came on before the featured scrap. And then she laid out the disparity in pay:

View this post on Instagram

Here’s a pretty non-controversial video of me shadowboxing in Brooklyn bridge park…. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Psych: subliminal message to remind everyone that I’m a wicked feminist who demands equal pay for women in sports ??? Check out my story to see the stats from my 10/27 fight in HBO. Here’s a little recap for y’all who claim there’s no discrepancy in pay for athletes anymore. And those who claim “even if there is- it’s because no one wants to watch female boxing. ? Jacobs-Derevenchenko had a viewership of 553,000 homes and was allocated a budget of close to $3 MILLION dollars from @hboboxing . ? Hardy-Vincent attracted a peak viewership of 527,000 homes and was allocated a budget of $10 THOUSAND dollars. . ? This is just ONE OBSTACLE STANDING IN THE WAY OF GIRLS IN SPORTS. We can not make a living excelling in something we love because we have vaginas. . ? Thank you for coming to my @ted Talk.

A post shared by Heather Hardy (@heathertheheat) on

Some commenters either didn’t see the stat, or were so married to their POV they glossed over her point. And some made their case, no real surprise, quite rudely. This is the age we are in, where keyboard warriors hiding behind an avatar, talk rugged while waiting for mom to bring the TV dinner down to their basement hideaway.

Hardy’s promoter is Lou DiBella, and he for the last couple years has been spending more and more of his time signing female talent and working to present those athletes on top tier platforms, while seeking to secure A level purses from platform providers/programmers. Word is he’s planning an all female event which will be the splashiest such a compilation the sport has perhaps ever seen to date. And Hardy is sending out notice that she’d like to achieve something approaching parity in pay. Especially when – hello! – TV ratings bear out that her fights, like that sequel with Vincent, can attract interest.

Her previous IG post….

…rubbed some the wrong way. Name the obstacles, many demanded, and some of them resorted to name calling and baiting in a mean spirited manner.

Regarding those posts you see above; there is no shortage of nasty and crude comments beneath the piece. I wondered, did that sort of vitriol surprise Hardy?

“It was surprising. I didn’t see the post to be overtly ‘feminist’ or ‘democratic’ or ‘political’ yet the responses were so charged with hate. People who unfollowed me. Refused support. Claimed ‘I used to follow you because you’re a great fighter but stepping into politics is where I have to bow out. Peace!’ It’s a horrible climate for America,” Hardy told RING.

And, perchance, did Hardy check out any of the coverage of Pelosi’s return to power as House speaker?

“Haven’t turned on my TV, it’s been such a long day.”

My three cents: Interesting. Much news coverage today touched on gender matters, and touched on the balance of power shifting in the House, toward a makeup that more so reflects the composition of the nation. So, Hardy was simply in a fighting for fairness mode which linked up with the mood in halls of power in Washington.

I’d offer to Hardy that yes, it feels like a “horrible climate” is affecting we the people in America…but I do think we come out better on the other side. Gains that Hardy is aiming for traditionally only come after a hard fight, and figurative blood is shed.

Woods, a Brooklyn resident, was a staff writer at NY Newsday, before joining ESPN The Magazne (2003-2011). 

He edited TheSweetScience.com (2007-20015), and now publishes NYFights.com, and calls fights for Facebook Fightnight Live.