Mackenzie Dern opened up about the ongoing battle with her estranged husband, Wesley Santos, during an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani.
Mackenzie Dern is fresh off a big win over Angela Hill at UFC Vegas 73. Through the 25-minute affair, Dern delivered a dominant performance that moved her to the No. 7 spot in the strawweight rankings. She also pocketed a well-deserved $50,000 bonus for her efforts, but as it turns out, that was not the only fight Mackenzie Dern was in the midst of.
Appearing on Wednesday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Mackenzie Dern shared details of the fractured relationship she eluded to during her post-fight interview earlier this month.
“So 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 said, later adding, “I was in a situation in my relationship where I couldn’t even defend myself, because I was getting, like, threatened that if I did anything, I’d be talking to the police and I could lose my daughter.
“So, I stayed in my relationship because I believed in the family, and I believe that that’s what God wanted and stuff. But there’s a certain point where you try, try, and try, and things don’t change, and it just keeps getting worse and worse. And then, like I was saying, I wasn’t even able to defend myself. Like, police were getting called to the house. It was just getting out of control, and going through that in front of your daughter, you don’t want your daughter to witness that.”
Santos Has Continually Denied Mackenzie Dern’s Domestic Violence Accusations
Wesley Santos vehemently denied Mackenzie Dern’s allegations in a prepared statement.
“I am disappointed that Mackenzie chose to make public statements about our divorce, especially since it involves the custody of our beautiful daughter, Moa,” he wrote. “Because we are in the middle of legal proceedings, I cannot comment on anything at this time, except to say that Mackenzie’s statements are false and defamatory.”
A month before her return to the Octagon, court documents were filed with both making domestic abuse claims as the custody battle over their three-year-old daughter, Moa, turned ugly. Dern accused Santos of repeated physical and emotional abuse, revealing that he had allegedly slammed a door on her legs whilst dragging her into their home. Dern filed a petition for a restraining order, citing domestic violence. Dern included videos showing an incident where Santos is said to have “threw my phone, water bottles, pillows, and bedding while harassing/intimidating me verbally,” according to Dern.
Santos has denied every accusation of abuse and countered Dern’s claim, stating that he was the victim of abuse. Santos also provided pictures and a video of himself with a bloody nose, allegedly, the result of a punch delivered by Dern during an altercation outside of a restaurant. Santos also accused Dern of physically assaulting their daughter.
“I never physically attacked Mackenzie, she is an MMA fighter,” Santos wrote in a court filing. “I would never even try to get physical with her. I would have no chance.”
Dern and Santos will be back in court next month to rule on the restraining order filed by Dern last month and to present a final custody agreement.