Bellator MMA Women’s Flyweight Champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, alongside her sister and an unnamed third person, have filed a lawsuit against the Punahou School District and former basketball coach Dwayne Yuen, alleging sexual abuse against Yuen.
Macfarlane has now taken to Instagram to reveal why the lawsuit has been filed, while also addressing some internet trolls that have taken aim at her and the others in the lawsuit:
Even though I’ve been a strong voice for other wahine toa—creating my scholarship for native girls, teaching self-defense to them, leading healing retreats for women—I never really shared my own story. To be honest, I was in denial and didn’t want to admit that it affected me as much as it did. I have to be strong. I’m a professional fighter. I can’t show any vulnerability. I can’t give him the satisfaction of knowing how much he infiltrated my thoughts, relationships and life even 15 years later. But here we are. The time is now. And for all the trolls saying, “wHy DiD u wAiT s0 l0nG?!” Idiots. We didn’t “wait”. My sister reported him to the school right when it happened and they swept it under the rug. Punahou knew I was a victim and witness to my own sister’s abuse and didn’t even bother to check on me. As a result we were retaliated against by him and the basketball program and had to see him everyday, still allowed on campus around minors. My sister and I tried our best to move on with our lives until it resurfaced in 2018 when more victims came forward. Punahou claimed they were doing an internal investigation but again, didn’t contact me and refused to share the results of the “investigation” with my sister. Disgustingly, we found out that he’s STILL coaching and teaching minor girls. So here we are now, 15 years later seeking justice together. He can’t get away with this anymore. Dwayne Yuen, YOUR TIME IS UP. P.S. I chose this picture not only for the solidarity that my family and I have together through this process, but to show you how old me and Mahina were when the sexual grooming and abuse started. I was in 6th grade and she (far right) was a freshman.
Scott Coker is the president of Bellator MMA and he says the promotion will support Macfarlane during this difficult time.
“That’s something very serious. We’re here to support her,” Coker said to MMA Junkie. “It’s obviously become a legal situation, and that’s something that’s always a rough go, but we’re here for her. And if she needs anything, we’ll be here for her.”