Bellator champion Ilima-Lei MacFarlane Files Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Against Former School and Coach
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is Bellator’s current women’s flyweight champion. And now, she is addressing being the victim of alleged sexual abuse. But, Macfarlane isn’t just speaking, she is also taking legal action against a former basketball coach at her old high school that she attended.
Ilima-Lei and her older sister Mahina Macfarlane Souza previously attended Punahou School in Honolulu, HI. The school is a private, co-educational, college preparatory school that is relatively large. Additionally, it holds about 3,000 students from kindergarten through the twelfth grade.
MacFarlane Explains Alleged Sexual Abuse
The MacFarlane sisters, as well as another former student, have filed a lawsuit against former basketball coach Dwayne Yuen and the school. In her claims, she states that she had an inappropriate relationship with Yuen and he forced sexual acts upon her. Furthermore, she stated via Instagram that the school did nothing about it.
“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,” wrote MacFarlane.
“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.”
Ilima-Lei Explains the Schools Reaction to the Claims
She continued” 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 every day, 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.
The Story Moving Forward
As the story develops, Middle Easy will be sure to update the status of the lawsuit. For now, it’s important that Ilima-Lei has the support of her followers, as well as anyone else invested in mixed martial arts. Her bravery is appreciated and commended. Especially as a high profile woman in the spotlight.