UFC 295: Dern and Andrade fighting to pay for costly divorces

Both fighters in this UFC 295 women's strawweight battle are working to pay off expensive divorces.

By: Nate Wilcox | 4 weeks ago
UFC 295: Dern and Andrade fighting to pay for costly divorces
Jessica Andrade | ChristopherxHanewinckel / USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

UFC 295 will be Jessica Andrade’s fifth fight of 2023

UFC 295 will feature a match between two women scorned: strawweights Jessica Andrade and Mackenzie Dern are both battling through the aftermaths of messy divorces as they prepare to meet in the Octagon.

Andrade opened up to the Trocação Franca podcast and spoke frankly about what’s been motivating her busy fighting schedule in 2023 leading into UFC 295.

“This year I had my divorce that has taken a lot of my money in paying for lawyers and things here and there, so I ended up taking five fights,” Andrade said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “It will be over this year, God willing, and I’ll be fine. [I fought five times in 2023] because of that, because of the divorce. I had to spend a lot of money with lawyers in Brazil, it’s too much bureaucracy.”

This isn’t the first time Andrade has spoken about the financial impact of her divorce.

Earlier this year she revealed that “the UFC paid her in advance to help Jessica resolve a difficult financial situation that grew from her divorce and the mishandling of her money by her ex-wife.”

Andrade did a stint as an adult performer

Andrade hasn’t only resorted to a busier fight schedule and a renegotiated contract, she also did a stint as an adult performer on an infamous website. It is not something she’s proud of.

“I never liked doing that kind of thing, can you believe it? It was really too much for me. I have some childhood traumas, I was abused and all. When I did that, I felt the same way. Like my hands were tied. I couldn’t react. You know when you freeze? It deeply triggered my trauma. I couldn’t say ‘no’. I never wanted to do this OnlyFans business. I hated it. I had never talked about (being abused). Only the people closest to me knew. The whole world is going to know now. It’s all right. It’s something that really traumatized me and I didn’t know how to say ‘no’. When my first pictures leaked, it was really bad. I had to pretend I was ok, but I wasn’t,”

“That’s why I did it (for money),” She said. “I didn’t know the person who was handling my money. The person would tell me: ‘Leave it to me and I’ll take care of it. You’ll have no problems. I’m really good at working with this’. Then I got screwed. It’s because of my ex-marriage. She managed everything, she handled the money. Then the money ran out. What was I going to do? She didn’t want to accept that we had no money left, that she was going to have to work for a living. When you’re in the United States, you either work or you’re screwed,”

“I had no fights booked. I had lots of bills to pay. So she said ‘Let’s start (doing online sex work)’. I said ‘I don’t want to do that stuff’. I’ve always told her. I don’t even like taking photos in a bikini. I said ‘I haven’t worn any underwear since I was 13, now I’m going to wear lingerie?’. Well, she made me wear lingerie. Then it only got worse after that. As the money started to come in, the eyes get bigger. You end up submitting yourself to things that aren’t you.”

The marriage certainly took some sad turns after starting with a romantic in-Octagon proposal by Andrade in 2011.

Andrade has lost three straight bouts and has gone 1-3 so far in her busy 2023.

Mackenzie Dern also paying for a bitter split

May 20, 2023, Las Vegas, Nevada, Las Vegas, NV, United States: LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 20: Mackenzie Dern (top) controls the body of Angela Hill in their Women s Strawweight bout during the UFC Vegas 73 event at UFC Apex on May 20, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States.
Mackenzie Dern worked out a few issues against Angela Hill. | LouisxGrasse / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

Her UFC 295 opponent, Mackenzie Dern is also dealing with some expensive and painful realities of the human condition following an ugly split and custody battle with ex-husband pro-surfer Wesley Santos.

“I realized we always have problems,” Dern said during UFC 295 media day. “Just the pressure. The last one I went through the divorce. The divorce is final but you don’t realize how much aftermath there is to it. Literally, this whole fight is still paying my ex. It’s crazy, I have to get punched in the face and you work so hard and you do all this and you have to like pay that much of something.

“Money’s something, I’ll fight here, I’ll get it, whatever. Winning or losing, everything’s going to be taken care of. I’ll make more [money] and stuff like that but it’s just problems.”

The one bright spot for Dern has been her ability to channel her legal and personal frustrations into success inside the Octagon. Angela Hill bore the brunt of Dern’s Fight of the Night performance in her last outing.

“I was unleashing anger,” Dern said with a laugh. “It’s not only emotion, of course. I was motivated. I needed to win. I needed a bonus. I needed all the money I could get because of everything I was going through, the [divorce]. All that and my desire to win since I was coming off a loss. I had anger, I was letting it all out, but I also evolved in this camp.

“I don’t want people to think it was only anger during the fight, unleashing it all on Angela, you know? I really have a better idea of [the sport] now. The motivation in this fight was everything I’m going through, the divorce, my ex-husband and all that, but people can see that — I wouldn’t call it a new Mackenzie, but an evolved Mackenzie.”

We’ll find out which woman can overcome her personal demons this Saturday at UFC 295.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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