Dana White: Rachael Ostovich OK with Fighting on Card with Greg Hardy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2018

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 06:  Rachael Ostovich reacts after her submission loss to Montana De La Rosa in their women's flyweight bout during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside The Pearl concert theater at Palms Casino Resort on July 6, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC president Dana White told Aaron Bronsteter of TSN that Rachael Ostovich has signed off on fighting on the same card as former NFL player and current MMA fighter Greg Hardy. 

Aaron Bronsteter @aaronbronsteter

Dana White discusses the decision to have Greg Hardy compete on January 19th, the same card as Rachael Ostovich, a recent victim of domestic violence. White has spoken to Rachael since Hardy was added to hear her feelings on it. Hardy will remain on the card despite the backlash https://t.co/6EHMIXS9lm

Ostovich accused her husband, Arnold Berdon, of assaulting her in November. He's since been arrested and charged with "suspicion of second degree attempted murder," per TMZ Sports. Hardy, meanwhile, was arrested for domestic violence in 2014 and was found guilty at a bench trial, though charges were later dropped after his accuser stopped cooperating with prosecutors after settling with Hardy. 

That context raised eyebrows when it was announced that Ostovich and Hardy would be on the same card, with Bronsteter noting that some have described the decision as "tone deaf."

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

UFC’s ESPN debut is a little over a month away. They are scrambling for big fights. They don’t have a main event yet. They are trying to move things around. I get all that. This wasn’t the move, though, on multiple levels.

But White said he spoke to Ostovich and noted that she was comfortable with the arrangement.

"Her take on it was: 'His story isn't my story. Everybody's story is different, and I believe in second chances. I have no problem fighting on the same card with this guy,'" White said. "He didn't do anything to Rachael Ostovich, so she was totally cool with it. Obviously, having her support was a key factor in making that decision."

White also spoke on the decision-making that went into the making of the card:

"First of all, these cards get worked on months ahead of time. Rachael was off the card because of what happened, then she called me back. I wasn't letting her fight because of what had just happened to her. There's no way that she can fight right now, she needs to take some time. She called me, she gave me 75 reasons why she needs to be on this card. And I agreed with her, so we did it."

Ostovich suffered multiple injuries, including a broken orbital bone, from the alleged assault. According to Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com, Ostovich has publicly stated that she wants to fight to "make a stand against domestic abuse."

She also responded on Twitter to the video of White's interview with Bronsteter: 

rachaelostovich @rachaelostovich

💪🏼💜🙏🏼 https://t.co/RjwqlTBtp3

She is scheduled to face Paige VanZant on Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, while Hardy will face Allen Crowder.


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