U.S. Marine Jarrod Haschert sat down in front of his computer last week with nothing more than a hope and a prayer. The 22-year-old needed a date to the Marine Corps Ball in December and there was only one person he was interested in bringing with him: UFC star Ronda Rousey. Of course.
While Haschert may have hoped that Rousey would go with him, or even see the video, he never could have expected what happened in the days that followed the post. The New Jersey native became a viral video sensation, the center of a story that went national and, possibly, Rousey’s date. The UFC star responded to the invitation on Tuesday, telling TMZ that she would definitely attend the Ball. Sometimes those computer-based hopes and prayers do come true.
Here’s what you need to know about Haschert:
1. Haschert Posted a Video to Facebook Asking Rousey to the Marine Corps Ball in December
It all started as a quasi-dare. North Carolina-based Marine Jarrod Haschert doesn’t have a date to the Marine Corps Ball in December so his friends told him he should ask out his crush. It just so happened that his crush is also UFC star Ronda Rousey.
Still, what’s a little fame when dating is on the line? So, Haschert, 22, posted a video to Facebook last week, asking Rousey to the ball. Haschert explained his attraction to Rousey to a local North Carolina news station, saying:
Ronda is by far the coolest chick I’ve ever seen. I’ve been watching her fights since I was in high school and every fight is more exciting than the last. As I said in the video she is absolutely my ‘celebrity crush’ and I just kept thinking, it’s worth a try.
The video went viral almost immediately, racking up millions of views across nearly every social platform and drew the attention of dozens of media reports. Suddenly, Haschert and his video were in the headlines and the publicity he hoped, would get back to Rousey.
2. Rousey Said She Would ‘For Sure’ Accept the Invitation
For the first few days after posting the video, Haschert received nothing but radio silence from Rousey. Despite dozens of media reports and interviews with local news stations, the video still had yet to reach the UFC standout. Then, TMZ happened.
The entertainment site got in contact with Rousey and asked what she planned to do with the invitation. Her answer may very well change Hascherts life. She responded:
I would go for sure. Do I call him? Or do I set up a time and place like Never Been Kissed and wait until the clock runs out and be like ‘I’m here!’
Fantastic 90’s teen movie references aside, Rousey should probably make sure to get in contact with the Marine. He’s been waiting for awhile.
Capt. Kendra Motz told TMZ that the Marines welcome Rousey to the event, adding, “It’s exciting for all of our guests. It’s a time to educate them on our traditions.”
3. She Had Previously Been Unable to Attend Due to Her UFC Schedule
Originally, Rousey likely would not have been able to attend the Marine Corps Ball. The event is scheduled in December and, until recently, Rousey would have been in the midst of training for her next fight, squaring off against former boxer Holly Holm at UFC 195.
Then, things changed. The UFC rescheduled Rousey’s fight, moving it to November 14 in Australia at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
The move was, technically, a replacement for the Robbie Lawler-Carlos Condit fight after Lawler suffered a thumb injury. But it’s also a major coincidence that Etihad Stadium seats 90,000 people.
While the change in scheduling may be surprising, it also opens up Rousey’s schedule in December and as far as Haschert is concerned, that’s the only thing that matters.
4. Haschert Graduated From Marine Corps Boot Camp in 2013
After graduating from Sterling High School in Somerdale, New Jersey, Haschert entered the Marine Corps and went through boot camp. He tweeted in June 2013 that he had jut recently graduated:
Haschert is based in North Carolina, stationed out of Camp Lejeune.
5. He Isn’t the First to Ask a Celebrity to the Marine Corps Ball
Haschert’s video has been watched millions of times in the last week but he is far from the first Marine to ask a celebrity out via the internet.
In 2011, Sgt. Scott Moore of the 3rd 3rd Battalion 2nd Marines in Musa Qala, Afghanistan posted his own video on YouTube asking Mila Kunis to the Marine Corps Ball. Not only did Kunis respond, she actually attended the event with Moore. Although he said that the night, and his date, with Kunis was exactly what he had hoped for, Moore admitted that there were some within the Corps who didn’t appreciate his video. He told Marine Corps Times:
I had some people sending emails who said they didn’t appreciate what I did. A lot of guys thought it took away from the ball, which wasn’t my intention. (One master sergeant) would email randomly telling me what a bad person I was and that our ball was turned into a red carpet event.
Kunis wasn’t the only celebrity at that year’s event either. Justin Timberlake, her co-star in the film “Friends with Benefits,” also attended with Cpl. Kelsey De Santis, who invited him with her own viral video.