UFC Star Mackenzie Dern Exposes Harrowing Abuse in Marriage and Intense Court Battle3 min read
UFC strawweight Mackenzie Dern made headlines not just for her impressive performance against Angela Hill at UFC Vegas 73, but also for the deeply personal struggles she endured leading up to the fight. In a recent interview on The MMA Hour, Dern revealed the fractured nature of her relationship with her estranged husband, Wesley Santos, and made allegations of physical abuse for the first time.
Dern expressed the difficulties she faced, stating, “I feel like I’ve been having to defend myself this whole time for things that I never thought I’d have to defend myself for.” She revealed that she was in a situation where she couldn’t defend herself due to threats of involving the police and potentially losing custody of her daughter.
Despite the challenges, Dern chose to remain in the relationship, believing in the importance of family and following what she thought was God’s plan. However, as the situation worsened and she found herself unable to defend herself, she realized the detrimental impact it was having on her daughter.
Santos, in response to Dern’s allegations, issued a prepared statement denying her claims and stating that he would address the matter after their divorce is finalized. The couple had been involved in a custody battle over their 3-year-old daughter, Moa, with domestic violence accusations being traded just a month before the event.
Allegations of physical and emotional abuse were made by Dern against Santos, citing incidents such as him allegedly dragging her into their house during a fight and slamming a door on her leg. Dern also filed for a domestic violence restraining order, submitting videos of an alleged incident where Santos threw objects and verbally harassed her.
Santos countered with his own allegations, providing video evidence of a bloody nose he claimed was caused by Dern’s punch during an altercation in a restaurant parking lot. He also accused Dern of abusing their daughter, a claim she vehemently denied.
Dern further accused Santos of animal abuse and financial abuse, including denying her access to sponsor money and making unauthorized credit card purchases. These allegations were strongly denied by Santos.
The court, in its ruling, did not favor either party on the allegations of abuse, acknowledging the possibility of mutual combat. Joint custody of Moa was granted, with Dern being ordered to pay court fees and provide spousal and child support due to her status as the primary earner.
In the face of these personal hardships, Dern drew strength from her emotions and channeled them into her fight against Angela Hill. Displaying unwavering determination, Dern dominated the UFC veteran over five rounds, coming close to finishing the fight on multiple occasions. The official scorecards reflected her dominance, with unanimous scores of 49-43 and 49-44, earning her a well-deserved “Fight of the Night” bonus.
In reflecting on her performance, Dern clarified that it was never personal, stating, “If I didn’t do it to her, she was gonna do it to me, for sure.” She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to use her work as a platform to release the pent-up aggression she had accumulated through her personal struggles.
As Dern continues to navigate the legal proceedings and seek resolution, her triumph in the octagon serves as a testament to her resilience and determination. With her indomitable spirit, she has shown the world that even in the face of adversity, she remains a force to be reckoned with inside and outside the cage.