“I called Rachael Ostovich and talked to her and walked her through this situation,” White today told “TSN.” “And 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 as this guy.’
“He didn’t do anything to Rachael Ostovich. She was totally cool with it. Obviously, having her support was a key factor in making that decision.”
For her part, Ostovich appeared to give a seal of approval when she tweeted a response with emojis for a flexed muscle, a heart and hands folded in prayer or thanks.
The UFC was accused of being tone deaf when it paired Hardy, an ex-NFL player with a documented past of domestic violence, with Ostovich, allegedly the victim of a recent domestic attack, on the ESPN+1 fight card Jan. 19 in Brooklyn, N.Y.
But White isn’t particularly concerned about the optics of the decision, because he said Ostovich wants to fight.
“Listen, if you want to make it an issue, you can make it an issue,” he said. “Everybody can make it an issue if they want to. Rachael Ostovich doesn’t have an issue with it, and that’s all that matters to me.”
As to how the promotion ended up in this spot in the first place, White claimed he initially was against Ostovich competing at the event because of what she’d been through; Ostovich’s husband currently stands accused of assaulting her this past month at their home in Hawaii, leaving her with multiple injuries and a protection order from a judge.
“Rachael was off the card because of what happened,” White said. “Then she called me back – first of all, I wasn’t letting her fight after what had just happened to her. There was no way she could fight right now; she needs to take some time.
“She called me and gave me 75 reasons why she needs to be on this card, and I agreed with her, and so we did it.”
And so Hardy (3-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will face Allen Crowder (9-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), an up-and-comer who’s resolved to teach the ex-footballer a lesson about beating up women. Ostovich (4-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will fight UFC starlet Paige VanZant (7-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC). The official bout order has not yet been released for the promotion’s official debut with new broadcast partner ESPN.
Ostovich recently said her decision to remain on the fight card is about sending a message about domestic violence and not letting anyone stand in the way of their dreams. White appears determined not to stand in either Ostovich or Hardy’s way as they chase theirs.
Although Hardy’s inclusion has shrouded the UFC’s debut in controversy, White believes in Hardy’s redemption.
“He’s going to be tied to that for the rest of his career, for the rest of his life,” he said. “This is a guy who has spent the last five years rehabilitating himself from drugs, alcohol, anger management, you name it – rebuilding his life. He hit rock bottom, he lost his job, and he’s building a family now. He has a son and a daughter. He’s trying to put that behind him.”
- Kamaru Usman says he's been offered Colby Covington fight, but doesn't expect acceptance
- Coach Mike Brown with everything you need to know about Joanna Jedrzejczyk's UFC 231 preparation
- Russian documentary relives Khabib Nurmagomedov's UFC debut, including Dana White's instructions to take off his wig
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Dana White: Rachael Ostovich 'totally cool' with Greg Hardy on same card at UFC on ESPN+ 1