Kayla Harrison stays where she is.
The women’s MMA star has signed a multi-year deal to remain with the Professional Fighters League, the organization announced Tuesday morning. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I’m glad the free hand is over and I have a fight on the horizon,” Harrison told the Post via text message. “I look forward to continuing to grow and challenge myself and be one of the highest paid athletes in the sport.”
Harrison (12-0, 10 finishes), whose contract with PFL expired after winning her second straight women’s lightweight season on Oct. 27 with a second-round armbar submission win over Taylor Guardado in the finals, was one of the been highest-profile MMA free agents in years. UFC President Dana White said last year he was “interested in the whole Kayla Harrison thing.” Bellator CEO Scott Coker spoke earlier this year about his desire to bring Harrison into the group to compete in the promotion’s 145-pound weight class.
In the end, PFL was able to retain their biggest star, praised for both their results in the cage and their ability to promote a fight.
The 31-year-old former two-time Olympic gold medalist judoka has announced her desire to fight at 145 pounds and over against the best women in the world. Of the three major North American MMA organizations, only the PFL has its preferred 155-pound division, which requires minimal weight reduction and thus places less stress on the body before a fight. Current major featherweight champions Amanda Nunes (UFC) and Cris Cyborg (Bellator) are widely regarded as the most successful women in MMA history.
“I’m also excited to have PFL on board to help me achieve my goals of becoming the best and trying to win some of the biggest competitors in the game that are coming and will challenge me,” said Harrison. “I’m excited for us to have these fights and until then I have one more belt to win.”
Harrison has met little opposition since making her MMA debut in 2018, two years after winning her second gold medal in judo at the Olympics in Brazil, when she competed almost exclusively for the PFL. She became the first female PFL champion and $1 million season winner in 2019 — the second year of the promotion — and repeated the feat in 2021. The third season was pushed back a year from 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic postponed.
PFL also announced the debut of a pay-per-view Super Fight Division.
“I’m also pleased to announce that the PFL is introducing a new pay-per-view Super Fight Division that will see star MMA fighters go head-to-head against the best fighters in the sport on a global scale,” said PFL CEO Peter Murray in a statement. “Two-time PFL Champion Kayla Harrison will fight on ESPN networks beginning April in the 2022 PFL season, continuing to build on her legacy as a main event in the PFL’s PPV Super Fight Division.”
Harrison’s opponent for her return to the cage in April will be announced “in the coming weeks” along with the rest of PFL’s regular-season schedule, the statement said. Joining her this season is Julia Budd, the former Bellator featherweight champion who debuted for the PFL in October. The presence of these two distinguished women gives 2022 the organization’s strongest women’s lightweight list to date.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/08/kayla-harrison-top-mma-free-agent-signs-multiyear-pfl-deal/ Top MMA Free Agent Kayla Harrison Signs Multi-Year PFL Contract