Comment: The UFC’s handling of domestic abuse is nothing short of deplorable

UFC fighter Rachael Ostovich allegedly suffered violent abuse from her husband and now the UFC have her on the same card as Greg Hardy, an instigator of domestic abuse himself.

Yes, that’s correct. You did indeed read that right.

Even after Greg Hardy’s stint on the Contender Series this summer despite protests from fans, he was signed to the UFC in some sort of ‘developmental role’ – whatever that means.

It seems now that the former NFL player has been bumped up to the big leagues and is due to make an appearance on January 19th.

It’s bad enough that Hardy is in the UFC as it is and I’ve made my feelings clear on this on a number of occasions. What’s worse, is that the UFC have, in their infinite wisdom, decided to go ahead and have him on the same card as Ostovich who, not one month ago, was a victim of such terrible violence herself.

Excuse my “French” if you will but, what the actual fuck are they thinking here?

This could be so easily avoided and despite journalists being in attendance at the UFC 231 press conference yesterday evening (Wednesday) not one question was asked about this incredibly insensitive decision.

Not one.

“But Shane, you watch people knock each other out every weekend, what’s the big deal?”, I hear you ask.

I watch and respect many MMA fighters and boxers because most, not all, but most epitomise what fighting is all about and their stories in many cases are some of the most remarkable of any sport.

Greg Hardy might look like a fighter, win like a fighter but he is not a fighter. He is a symbol of abuse and that’s all he’ll ever be to me and there is no way in hell I’ll ever watch any of his fights again.

Fast forward to today and UFC President Dana White was speaking with Aaron Bronsteter on TSN about this particular matter.

“Listen, I talked to Rachael Ostovich and she’s totally cool with this. She told me that (Greg) Hardy didn’t abuse her and she is happy to be on the card”, said White.

All is forgiven then I suppose.

Wrong.

What happened to Ostovich was horrific and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. I admire her spirit for wanting to get back into the cage as soon as possible and continue her mixed martial arts career and I respect that completely.

What I don’t like is the message that Ostovich is putting out there. Just because Hardy didn’t abuse her doesn’t make it go away. It doesn’t make it suddenly ok for the UFC to think that everybody should just move on and get on with their business.

We have to remember that Ostovich is a fighter. She is a professional mixed martial artist who has the tools to defend herself. Other victims of abuse don’t necessarily have those attributes. It’s sending out some bad signals and she needs to be careful with how she deals with this especially those who have rallied around her and shown solidarity and empathy in some cases.

Watching a guy like Hardy beating up people in the cage right before you are due to fight yourself would have to have some sort of impact on you even if you weren’t directly involved with him.

I can understand why Ostovich would still want to fight. I don’t think she’s necessarily in the position to be holding any cards at this current point in her career with a 4-4 record and likely needs to fight, like most fighters, for money.

The UFC have shown solidarity with big events such as the Vegas shootings and rallying around the LBGT community but they seem to think they’re untouchable when it comes to things like this.

Dana White can talk about “second chances” all he likes when it comes to Greg Hardy but where was Paul Daley’s second chance? What about Wanderlei Silva? I mean, running away from the NSAC when you’re about to be drug tested doesn’t seem like “the worst thing you could do” right now does it?

The UFC’s handling of this has been a disgrace. From signing Hardy in the first place, the narrative around him and his “rebuilding of his life” to this fiasco is just a bad look. Not so much for Ostovich but for people who have been victims of domestic abuse in the past.

The UFC don’t seem to care and are happy to feel like they’re untouchable.

I’ll likely never be credentialed for any UFC but to those journalists who were fearful of losing theirs and not asking the tough questions at yesterday’s press conference – Shame on you.

 

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