What might be awkward or a deal breaker to many is no problem for Bellator women’s flyweight champion Liz Carmouche.
This Saturday, Carmouche defends her title against former teammate and good friend Ilima-Lei Macfarlane on the main card of Bellator 300, which takes place at Pechanga Arena in San Diego. Many friendships have gotten in the way of championship fights in MMA, and understandably so, but not in this case.
Carmouche (19-7 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) is not only on good terms with Macfarlane (13-2 MMA, 12-2 BMMA), but the two have actually kept in contact as they get ready to fight each other.
” As far as the friendship, we’re still friends,” Carmouche told MMA Junkie Radio. “In her last fight camp, she needed a vehicle, so I let her borrow my truck. I was out of town for the weekend, and she got hay from my wife, so we’re still friends, and we’re sharing food videos with each other. The friendship is still there. That hasn’t waned for any reason and has no reflection on the fight.
“As far as training together, no, we haven’t been training together for a few years, but we were an integral part of our fight camps for a lot of years.”
Carmouche doesn’t wish ill on Macfarlane – far from it. However, not only is she confident that their friendship won’t get in the way of their flyweight title fight and that their relationship also won’t be affected, but she actually believes the two will fight harder than when they’ve fought non-friends or even rivals.
“Now facing her, the last thing you want to do is to go in there and hurt your friend,” Carmouche said. “I certainly don’t want to hurt her, but we both got the goals we have in mind, and I can’t put aside my success and my family to be able to place her needs and success ahead.
“So while it is awkward, we’ve competed side by side in so many opportunities, and we’ve had opportunities to face each other, and it just didn’t work out. We’ve always said we’d put it on the line harder against each other than any other opponent because, at the end of the day, we know we can hug each other, and it’s genuine hugs and just grateful for the experience to share it together.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for Bellator 300.