Mackenzie Dern opens up on divorce: “I was in a situation in my relationship where I couldn’t even defend myself”

Mackenzie Dern was in the midst of a court battle with her estranged husband, Wesley Santos, before her bout with Angela Hill at UFC Vegas 73.

During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Dern went into detail about her fractured relationship with Santos and, for the first time, accused him of physical abuse.

Dern revealed that she had been in a situation where she couldn’t defend herself due to threats that she would lose her daughter if she did anything.

She stayed in the relationship because she believed in the family and what God wanted. However, things kept getting worse, and she wasn’t even able to defend herself.

“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, latter 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.”

Recently we discussed how MMA stars could end up with aggravated assault charges as opposed to plain assault due to their martial arts background.

Santos denied Dern’s allegations when contacted by MMAFIghting 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.”

Dern accuses Santos of repeated physical and emotional abuse, including slamming a door on her leg as he allegedly dragged her into their house.

In April, one month after Santos asked the court for custody of Moa, she filed a petition for a domestic violence restraining order, attaching videos of one alleged incident of abuse in which he “threw my phone, water bottles, pillows and bedding while harassing/intimidating me verbally.””

Dern said police responded after the alleged incident was caught on video, but did not file a report. In a response to Dern’s restraining order, Santos countered that he was being abused, providing video and pictures of a bloody nose he said was caused by her punch during an alleged incident in the parking lot of a sushi restaurant.

Dern also accuses Santos of abusing her two dogs by repeatedly striking them, an allegation he denies. She alleges he committed financial abuse by denying her access to sponsor money she earned in a Brazilian bank account, making unauthorized credit card purchases on her credit card, and forging a lease renewal on the apartment they once shared.

The court did not side with Dern or Santos on allegations of abuse, finding the couple may have engaged in mutual combat during incidents of alleged abuse between them.