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Kayla Harrison issues challenge to PFL: Bring in ‘new talent’ or pay me ‘life-changing’ money

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The multiple time Olympic gold medalist judoka sounds like she’s starting to think about her future in MMA beyond the end of the current PFL season.

Kayla Harrison’s MMA journey has been an interesting one. As a lightweight fighter she’s carved out a niche in women’s MMA that’s largely uncharted territory, with the bulk of past WMMA talent competing at featherweight and below.

To their credit, however, the PFL has worked to find regular competition to face Harrison—holding a lightweight tournament in 2019 and (2020’s cancelled season aside) getting her into the cage at least 3 times a year over the past four years. Women’s lightweight MMA may not have a strong presence anywhere else in mixed martial arts, but PFL is making it work.

Whether or not they can improve on things, however, is an entirely different consideration. One that seems to be at the forefront of Harrison’s mind as her current contract with the organization comes to a close. The American Top Team talent recently spoke to MMA Mania about her future in mixed martial arts. And along the way, she made it clear that the PFL is either going to have to find her some bigger fights, or open up their pocket book a lot wider. If not, her time with the promotion may be coming to an end.

“Obviously, I have these next two fights in front of me. These are the most important things. I gotta go out there and I have to dominate and instill my will,” Harrison explained. “I’ve also come to the realization that if PFL and I are going to negotiate, and if they’re unable to bring in new talent or whatever, they’re going to have to offer me life-changing money in order for me to be willing to give up my chance at a legacy. That’s kind of where I’m at mentally. I know the PFL is negotiating with my manager now. That’s stuff that I let them deal with. I have a job to do. I’m going to go out there and kick ass and chew bubble gum. The rest will work itself out. I have no doubt if I do everything right, the rest will work itself out.”

Harrison was able to make the featherweight limit for her lone bout outside the PFL, when she competed at Invicta 43 in November of last year. Most likely, if she were to leave the organization behind for potential greener pastures (something along the lines of a UFC contract and the promise of a PPV bout against Amanda Nunes), then she’d have to do so down at 145 lbs.

Harrison is currently set to face off against City Kickboxing talent Genah Fabian at PFL 8 on August 19th. That bout will mark her third of the year, coming off first round finishes of Mariana Morais and Cindy Dandois. After this upcoming booking, Harrison will have just one fight remaining on her current contract, and from there it seems likely negotiations will really begin in earnest.