Bellator has scooped up former UFC bantamweight Liz Carmouche (13-7-0).
CEO Scott Coker announced on Friday that the 35-year-old “Girl-Rilla” is signed to an exclusive multi-fight, multi-year deal and will compete at 125 pounds.
Carmouche made history in the UFC along with Ronda Rousey in becoming the first women’s fight in the company’s history at UFC 157 in February 2013. She was also the first openly gay female fighter to challenge for a title and picked up some notable wins over Katlyn Chookagian and Jessica Andrade during her octagon tenure.She was abruptly released from the UFC on Dec. 6, while on a military promotional event tour for the company’s UFC on ESPN 7 show. According to an ESPN story, she explained to reporter Ariel Helwani on his MMA show that the company told her she was holding up the division by beating the division prospects.
Some surprise and sadness was expressed by Carmouche at the decision, but she brushed it off and thanked the company for its efforts.
Bellator could provide an interesting landscape.
Carmouche’s Team Hurricane Awesome teammate Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is the undefeated flyweight champion. There’s also the possibility, according to Coker, that there will be a flyweight tournament in 2020, of which Carmouche will likely be a candidate for.
Macfarlane, who successfully defended her belt for the fourth time against Kate Jackson in Hawaii Saturday at Bellator 236, is also on record as being willing to defend her belt against Carmouche.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.