Even when she was on the stand testifying against him, Christy Mack had trouble letting go of her love for War Machine, the former MMA fighter convicted of kidnapping, beating and sexually assaulting her.
“He had mouthed that he loved me and that was extremely difficult,” she tells HBO's “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” in an episode airing tomorrow night. “And I began bawling immediately. Because, for a long time, I did feel, you know, still emotionally connected to him."
Mack developed a way to cope with the lingering feelings she had for her abuser: Ignore him completely. “I never looked at him except when I was asked to identify him,” she says in the interview.
The "Real Sports" report is part of an on-going investigation by the show into the prevalence of domestic violence in MMA, which "showcases the world’s most violent athletes" and has "largely escaped mainstream scrutiny of its fighters’ conduct," an HBO press release says.
Mack has appeared on "Real Sports" before to talk about the brutal attack that left her with broken teeth, a fractured eye socket and a lacerated liver, among other injuries.
Her first appearance came in a 2015 episode, in which producers revealed some startling findings about the rate of domestic violence by MMA fighters.
According to their research, MMA fighters are arrested at more than twice the rate of general population.