Two-time Olympic gold medallist Kayla Harrison has expressed her frustration with not being included in the 2023 Professional Fighters League season.
When Larissa Pacheco crushed lightweight season champion Harrison (15-1) last November in the title fight of the 2022 PFL Championships, she couldn't manage to secure the title for her third consecutive season.
The two-time Olympic gold medallist had already made up her mind not to participate in an additional tournament which necessitated her to compete four times over approximately seven months after she fought in a third season for the PFL. Harrison was excited to participate in individual fights, particularly after the PFL unveiled intentions to add pay-per-view shows beginning in 2023.
Harrison, who won the PFL women's lightweight championship in both 2019 and 2021, was hoping to avenge her loss in the upcoming season. However, the PFL announced their roster for the upcoming season, and Harrison's name was not on the list.
“I wanted to be in the season,” Harrison said on The MMA Hour. “Of course, I wanted to be in the season. The second the tournament was over, the second I lost, I wrote down my goals. I was like: ‘145-pound champ. Going to be in the season. Avenge my loss.’ I had all my key areas of focus, and that’s not in the cards for me. That’s not what they want to do. They want me to fight on the pay-per-view.
“I don’t know. I think I get paid a lot of money. I think that they feel like (the regular season and playoffs are) not the best way to utilize me. I think they want to put me on a pay-per-view card against a big name.”
Harrison acknowledges that she dislikes being a spectator and feels that she lacks the excitement of the season.
“I’ve been a little bit depressed about it,” Harrison said. “It’s hard to watch something you helped build. No matter how awakened and peaceful I am, the world is still moving forward and I’m sitting right here. Sometimes that’s hard. I want to fight, I don’t just want to talk about fighting. I want to fight, so it’s frustrating.”
There wouldn't have been much of an audience left if Harrison hadn't fallen to Pacheco a third time. But Pacheco's triumph provided the ideal plot for an anticipated fourth match and an effortless publicity chance for the PFL's upcoming pay-per-view.
Sadly, the proposal fell apart since Pacheco declared she wasn't expecting another fight with Harrison to happen this year because of her devotion to four fights if she once again makes it to the finals. Pacheco entered the 2023 PFL season at featherweight.
Harrison is presently hoping for yet another chance because this has placed her in a position of uncertainty with little clarity concerning what lies ahead.