Liz Carmouche will be the first openly gay fighter to fight under the Zuffa LLC banner in the Ultimate Fighting Championships -MMA when she steps into the cage on Friday at Strikeforce Challengers 17. Caramouche is first openly gay fighter to compete for the world’s largest MMA organization.
Caramouche, a former marine left the service after five years because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”.
“It was really difficult. I wouldn’t say I came out so much as I came into my own. I really discovered what my sexuality meant to me and what that meant to me as a person. I was able to come out to my family, but other than that I couldn’t come out to co-workers or to friends because of what that would mean for my military life and my career. That made my life difficult, because I felt like I was constantly conflicted and at war with myself every day that I faced people. After having to keep that aspect of my life secret while I was in the military, I realized that it wasn’t the person I wanted to be,” Carmouche said. “I wanted to be open and honest about it and take the risk rather than hiding it.”
In her new life as a pro fighter, and with the support of her team and the UFC behind her, that’s one problem she no longer faces. Now all she has to worry about is the woman standing across the fighting cage on fight night.
Carmouche faces a former champion Sarah Kaufman this Friday (Showtime 11 p.m. ET/PT)