Earlier this week, we learned that former NFL star Greg Hardy, who has a history of domestic violence, will be sharing the Jan. 19 UFC on ESPN+ 1 card with Rachael Ostovich, who is a very recent survivor of domestic violence. This news was met with immediate backlash, as many members of the MMA community criticized the UFC for putting the two fighters on the same card.
On Thursday afternoon, TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter asked UFC President Dana White about the controversial decision to put Greg Hardy and Rachael Ostovich on the same card.
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 pic.twitter.com/6EHMIXS9lm
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 6, 2018
The UFC boss began by assuring that Greg Hardy has changed:
“He’s going to be tied to that for the rest of his career, for the rest of his life,” Dana White said of Hardy’s past. “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. He’s building a family now, he has a son and a daughter. He’s trying to put that behind him.”
When Bronsteter pushed White for more, the UFC President said that he had spoken to Rachael Ostovich about adding Greg Hardy to the card, and apparently received her blessing.
“First of all, I called Rachael Ostovich and talked to her and walked her through this situation, 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,'” White said, recounting what Ostovich allegedly told him. “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.”
Dana White later clarified that, for a time, he did not expect Rachael Ostovich to be on this card due to the injury she sustained when she was attacked.
“These cards get worked on months ahead of time,” he said. “Rachael was off the card because of what happened. Then she called me back. First of all, I wasn’t letting her fight after what just happened. I was like, there’s no way that she can 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, so we did it.”
Dana White concluded:
“If you want to make it an issue, you can make it an issue. 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.”
What do you think of this explanation from Dana White?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 12/6/2018.