Rachael Ostovich’s path to her upcoming fight against Paige VanZant wasn’t easy, and she didn’t always know if she’d make it. But after enduring an alleged domestic violence attack from her husband that put her in the hospital, Ostovich believes that just by standing up to fight on Saturday, she’s already won.
Ostovich spoke to MMAJunkie.com on Wednesday, three days before she’s set to face VanZant at “UFC Fight Night 143.” (That also happens to be UFC’s debut on ESPN+, the start of a five-year, $1.5 billion deal between the two parties.) She didn’t talk directly about the incident that put the fight into question in the first place: an alleged domestic violence incident in November between her and her husband, fellow MMA fighter Arnold Berdon, that put her into the hospital with a broken orbital bone.
But Ostovich did discuss the aftermath and how if affected her and her will to fight. She was temporarily pulled from the card after her hospitalization, but it didn’t last. Ostovich wanted to fight, and deciding to do so despite her injury has helped her gain more insight into who she really is, and the strength she has inside.
“I had every reason to pull out or not be here today, but I felt it was important to me to fight because of that,” Ostovich told MMAjunkie on Wednesday. “I feel like it’s not only a challenge to myself – fighting in general is one of the most difficult sports not just physically, but mentally all around. Then I add all of this on me, this extra stuff, it’s really defining. I’m really figuring out and finding out who I am as a person. Hopefully through my life people can get motivated and inspired through it.”
Ostovich understood why her manager (who is also her father) and the rest of her team initially pulled her from the fight — they were concerned for her health. But she told MMAJunkie.com that her desire to move forward was greater than any other concerns.
“I remember being on the hospital bed like still, ‘I need to fight. This is my fight.’ I knew it was something I needed to do … I knew I needed to fight.”
Ostovich admitted that with her injury, training has been tougher than normal. But she feels that she’s ready for the fight both mentally and physically. In fact, she’s excited about the fight, and to step into the Octagon after all she’s been through.
“I want to get the win,” Ostovich said. “I need to get the win. I feel like it’s my only option at this point, and it’s the only thing I’ve been envisioning, and I want to manifest that. Honestly, I already feel like I won. Just being here I feel like I won. That joy, I take it with me in there. I’m just so excited.”
More UFC Fight Night coverage on Yahoo Sports: