There were several people in the combat community who were baffled at Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) decision to book Greg Hardy to co-headline UFC on ESPN+ — which is set for Jan. 19, 2019 — the same card Rachael Ostovich will face Paige VanZant.
Hardy was the center of attention a few years ago for a domestic violence dispute that ultimately cut his NFL career short, paving the way for him to pursue his mixed martial arts (MMA) dreams full time. Ostovich, meanwhile, is the victim of an alleged domestic abuse case at the hands of her husband late last year.
Ostovich admits she really didn’t give the situation too much thought initially, saying it was social media that eventually brought it to her attention.
“I remember waking up to all kinds of stuff on Twitter wondering, ‘What is this, what in the world?’ I really didn’t look into it too much because I was busy dealing with my own thing, my daughter and life goes on. I started getting calls and people reached out to me,” Ostovich recalled during an interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.
“And, well, this has nothing to do with me. I am focused on my fight, on my … nobody’s story is the same and no one’s situation is the same. I have nothing to do with Greg Hardy and I am just grateful to be fighting again.”
While her case is still ongoing, Ostovich says she is too busy to be worrying about the personal and legal situations of others, but says everyone deserves second chances. And just like Hardy is turning his own life around, Ostovich hopes her husband — Arnold Berdon — can do the same.
“I believe in second chances. I am glad he’s (Hardy) making a turnaround and I hope the same can happen for my husband and anybody else who has made a wrong choice. I’ve made wrong choices and I was able to come back from those kinds of things,” she added. “We’ve all been, you know, not on our best behavior. For some people, they get caught or whatever may be. I don’t know his situation, I only know mine so I can’t speak on it.”
Referring to Dana White as a compassionate “uncle” who was very interested in her thoughts of fighting alongside Hardy after she did her homework and found out his backstory, Ostovich couldn’t help but to commend her boss in the handling of the whole situation.
“I told him it’s not up to me and whoever you put on the card so whoever you guys got. I’m just focused on my fight. This is my big fight and I am not going to give it up no matter what. I honestly didn’t know who Greg Hardy was,” she laughs. “I’m so bad.”
White has claimed that Hardy has already paid his dues and dealt with enough criticism regarding his domestic assault case, and like Greg, everyone needs to find a way to move on and not keep dwelling on his incident.
As for Ostovich, she is trying to do the same, and though she wouldn’t reveal any new details about the alleged assault she suffered at the hands of her husband, she feels stepping into the cage against Paige is good step forward in getting through her own domestic abuse obstacle.