UFC president Dana White said Thursday he received approval from Rachael Ostovich, whose husband allegedly attacked her in November, before booking her and Greg Hardy on the same card.
"I called Rachel Ostovich and talked to her and walked her through this situation," White told TSN's Aaron Bronsteter. "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.' He didn't do anything to Rachael Ostovich. She was totally cool with it. So, obviously, having her support was a key factor in making that decision."
Ostovich and Hardy are both scheduled to fight at the UFC on ESPN+1 event in Brooklyn on Jan. 19. It'll be the promotional debut of Hardy, who was accused of domestic violence in a high-profile trial.
In 2014, the ex-NFLer allegedly brutally beat his then-girlfriend, strangling her, throwing her onto a pile of guns on his couch, and threatening to murder her. He was initially convicted of assault and communicating threats. When he appealed for a jury trial, the woman stopped cooperating with authorities. The case was dismissed and the charges were later expunged from his record.
"This is a guy who has spent the last five years rehabilitating himself, from drugs, alcohol, anger management, you name it, rebuilding his life," White said. "He hit rock bottom, he lost his job. He's building a family now, he has a son and a daughter, and he's trying to put that behind him."
Ostovich is booked to fight Paige VanZant. She was originally removed from the card due to injuries she suffered in the attack, including a fractured orbital bone. Her husband, Arnold Berdon, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault.
White said Ostovich was added back to the card after she gave him "75 reasons" why she needed to be in the Octagon in Brooklyn.