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Kayla Harrison Responds to PFL Founder’s Criticism: “I Carried That Company on My Back!”

Kayla Harrison Fires Back at PFL Founder
Kayla Harrison

UFC bantamweight contender Kayla Harrison has spoken out following PFL founder Donn Davis’s disparaging remarks about her transition to the UFC.

Harrison made an impactful UFC debut at UFC 300, securing a second-round submission victory over former titleholder Holly Holm. This fight marked her first appearance at 135lbs, having previously competed at 155lbs in the PFL.

Her signing with the UFC earlier this year significantly altered the landscape of women’s MMA. After her impressive win over Holm, Harrison is potentially one or two victories away from a bantamweight title shot.

Losing Harrison was a considerable setback for the PFL. Davis, the league’s lead promoter, compared her move to the UFC to NBA star Kevin Durant’s controversial switch from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Golden State Warriors. Davis implied that Harrison left the PFL SmartCage to “be a follower who needs validation.” After weeks of silence, Harrison has finally addressed Davis’s remarks.

During a recent live episode of The Ariel Helwani Show, Harrison responded:

“Honestly, I’m living my best life. I take great pride in what I built at the PFL. I carried that company on my back for quite a while, and I’ve got big shoulders, so I can handle it. I just don’t have time for that bulls***. Every day, I wake up, I get to go to the gym, I get to train with the people that I respect, admire, and look up to. I’m chasing a dream. When I started MMA, the goal wasn’t to make a shit ton of money, the goal wasn’t to be rich and famous, the goal was to be UFC champion… That’s why I’m here and that’s what I want to do. And if anyone has a problem with it, they can go f*** themselves.”

Harrison also addressed the much-anticipated fight with Cris Cyborg that never took place in the PFL.

“I tried to fight [Cris] Cyborg several times!” Harrison exclaimed. “I’m not gonna bet my career on Cyborg saying ‘Yes’ to me. I don’t need Cyborg anymore. I’m gonna go on, I’m gonna be great, I’m gonna go win the UFC title. Lure Amanda [Nunes] back, beat the s*** out of Amanda, and then I’m gonna be the greatest of all time!”

Harrison won the PFL women’s lightweight championship in 2019 and 2021. Her lone career defeat came via unanimous decision to Larissa Pacheco at the 2022 PFL Championship. Despite her respect for the PFL and her accomplishments there, it’s clear there’s tension between Harrison and Davis.

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