by Dane McGuire
While it appears the Professional Fighters League is the frontrunner for where its biggest star
and free agent Kayla Harrison ends up, Bellator boss Scott Coker says talks are ongoing.
His response when asked about the situation with Harrison didn’t sound overly positive, but the
promotion can’t yet be ruled out as her next home.
“There wasn’t an official offer,” Coker said. “We talked to her manager, and we talked (about)
what a deal would look like. I think those conversations are ongoing. I don’t think anything is set.
“I don’t think she’s signed anything. And we’ll talk to [Harrison’s manager] either tonight or next
week. She’s got a lot of offers right now, and we’ll see what happens,” he added.
Harrison herself confirmed in an MMA Junkie article recently that PFL, the promotion that made
her a millionaire and two-time champion at women’s 155, is the frontrunner but she also has an
offer from the UFC.
“At this point, I got the offer from the UFC and I know what it is,” Harrison told MMA Junkie. “I
think timing wise just because certain things are going to happen with Amanda (Nunes) and
Julianna (Peña) etc. etc. You know, timing is kind of everything in the sport.
Harrison fought out her contract with the PFL in 2021, defeating Taylor Guardado by second
round armbar October 27 to win the 2021 women’s lightweight tournament. Harrison won the
2019 tournament prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the UFC doesn’t have a women’s lightweight division, it does have a women’s 145-pound
division which could use a star like Harrison. She has one win at 145 pounds over Courtney
Casey, which took place at Invicta FC 43 in November 2020.
Harrison took the Invicta FC bout during the pandemic as the PFL did not put on events in 2020.
“PFL is definitely the frontrunner. Bellator we spoke to them and I don’t know the exact details of
what was said between Ali (Abdelaziz) and them, but I know what I had proposed so that
doesn’t look like it’s going to … we’ll see what happens.”
This appears to be an improvement in Harrison’s relationship with the PFL. ESPN’s Marc
Raimondi reported November 9, 2020:
In October, Harley Breite, an attorney representing Harrison and PFL featherweight champion
Lance Palmer, told ESPN that a plan was in place to file a lawsuit against PFL because both
fighters wanted to compete. Breite told ESPN on Monday that Harrison fighting for Invicta does
not change that plan. Harrison and Palmer would also seek back wages in court, because they
have not competed at all in 2020 up to this point.
“This outrageous disparity in treatment of athletes and continued rudeness and
unprofessionalism will now be dealt with in the legal system,” Breite said.
Harrison had said during a October 25 MMA Fighting interview before the Invicta FC bout:
“Let me put it to you this way: I do believe in the PFL. I’m proud to be the face of the PFL. I
believe in the format. I believe in what they’re doing. And they have taken good care of me.
They have helped me create a career that I’m proud of and continue to be proud of. But there
are no friends in business.
“The PFL is not my friend — and I don’t meant that in a negative way. I just mean that I’ve
learned the hard way, through life, there are no friends in business. So it’s not personal. It’s just
business. Just like if I ever fight someone, it’s not personal, it’s just business. The same thing
goes with the PFL — I truly like the PFL, I like everyone who’s sitting in this room with me, I like
everyone I work with. But it’s not personal.”
Harrison has been with the PFL since her decision to pursue MMA after becoming a
multi-Olympic gold medalist in judo.