For the better part of two years, Rachel Ostovich has been on a roller coaster. One that predates the coronavirus pandemic. And even her USADA suspension from earlier this year. Dating all the way back to a domestic violence incident Ostovich was the victim of two years ago, it’s been a topsy-turvy time for the Hawaiian.
“This roller coaster did not stop,” Ostovich told Cageside Press during this week’s UFC Vegas 15 media day when asked about her experiences in 2020. Getting back into the fight game, however, “feels nice. I feel really refreshed to be here. Just getting here, with my last fight, all those obstacles I had to go through and jump through, I’m glad it’s all over, and I’m back here and ready to do the damn thing.”
Ostovich returns against Gina Mazany, but it was supposed to be Shana Dobson last February that the 29-year old went up against. A positive test for Ostarine, a common contaminant in athletic supplements, saw her hit with an eight-month sanction.
When it comes to the USADA process, “I couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion. I’m happy it’s over,” Ostovich said Wednesday. She still doesn’t know how her positive test happened precisely, although a supplement appears to be the culprit. Coming out of it, Ostovich is now hoping to see “more awareness” make its way to both other fighters, and the general public.
While Ostovich said the USADA “situation” is behind her, she did add that “I feel like a lot of people aren’t educated on the supplement industry, with how they aren’t regulated.” But she also maintained that “I take responsibility, at the end of the day.” Which has her double checking labels on everything. “I can’t even go to Jamba Juice to drink their protein drinks. It’s come down to that. Something I never thought I had to worry about, I worry about now, and I’m a lot more aware of it.”
Heading into UFC Vegas 15, both Ostovich and opponent Mazany have their backs against the wall. “I know that she needs this win just as much as I do. But I’m going in there, and I’m coming for that win,” said the Hawaiian. “This is serous. This could be my last fight. I’m looking at it in those terms. Despite the COVID and those circumstances, I’ve had a really great training camp, so I’m feeling really good going into this fight.”
It’s that dire, in Ostovich’s eyes. She sports a 4-5 record, almost unheard of in the UFC. The circumstances of her life in the past few years have cut her some slack, but she also knows she needs the win. “I’m thinking [this is] maybe the last fight in the UFC. You never really know. People get cut for way less,” she added.
If that does happen, she’ll remain in the sport. Ostovich is, of course, not planning to lose. “The plan is to stay in MMA, and the UFC. I’m not saying that this is my last fight. I just think that another loss, three in a row, that won’t be good,” she explained later. “I know how it looks. I’ve seen people get cut for way less. That’s how I look at things. MMA, I’ve been doing it for 10 years. That’s what I love to do. If they decided to keep me even after a loss, which [losing] is not gonna happen, I’ll be grateful too.”
Watch the full UFC Vegas 15 virtual media day press scrum with Rachael Ostovich above. The event takes place this Saturday, November 28, airing live on ESPN. The main card kicks off at 10PM ET.