The PFL has been making the news for a number of reasons lately. On the bright side, the promotion signed a deal with one the biggest fighters in the world at the moment in former UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou. At the same time, the company also had to deal with a doping scandal involving multiple fighters that threw a wrench into this year’s season. However, they still have more issues on the horizon.
Is money still an issue for Kayla Harrison?
One such problem is what will happen to one of its popular stars in two-time Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison. Since making the shift to MMA, the grappler found early success under the PFL banner, winning the 2019 and 2021 women’s lightweight grand prix. However, her streak came to a halt when she lost the 2022 season to Larissa Pacheco.
Now, Harrison has been removed from the 2023 season as the PFL plans on having the Olympian take on some superfights. However, once Harrison learned that Bellator women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg renewed her deal with the promotion, the judo blackbelt expressed an interest in moving over to the other company in order to make the dream match happen.
Those news did not sit well with last season’s champion Larissa Pacheco, who thinks it would be disrespectful for Harrison to just up and leave for another promotion after everything that the PFL has done for the Olympian. In an interview with Ag Fight, the Brazilian questions why would her former rival go and do such a thing.
“Yes, of course she was (disrespectful). This is what it comes down to, though. She’s not satisfied. When her contract is over, she’s going somewhere else. She needs to find out what really matters to her. Is it money that will make her stay in the PFL or is there another possibility? What makes her not go to another promotion? The PFL matched what she was asking for in the last negotiation.”
“I don’t know how much she makes, but it’s all about money, media. That’s what matters. If she’s already rich, like she says she is, and doesn’t need any more money, just take the purse they offered and go fight. I think she has the right to do that, but it’s also pretty disrespectful because the PFL was the home that brought her up.”
Larissa Pacheco welcomes a fourth fight with Kayla Harrison
Another reason why Pacheco may be campaigning for Harrison to stay with the PFL could sound even more obvious. The Brazilian makes it no secret that she would be interested in taking on the Olympian a fourth time, once the 2023 season is over, so she can have time to recover and be ready for another outing against the judoka.
“Of course I’m interested in fighting Kayla again. If the money is right, then what’s the problem? I’m already in the same promotion as her. Why not have a superfight? After the grand prix and all that is over, there’s no reason to not do it. Just give me a couple of months to recover from the GP so I can train properly and I’ll fight her, no problem. It’s their money that will call the shots.”
Larissa Pacheco returns at PFL 5 in June
Kayla Harrison (15-1) lost her invincibility in November 2022, when she dropped a unanimous decision to Pacheco in her most recent outing. Before the, 32-year-old made a name for herself under the PFL banner, beating athletes such as Pacheco twice, Kaitlin Young, Cindy Dandois and several others.
Larissa Pacheco (20-4) made her debut in the PFL women’s featherweight division back in April, with a unanimous decision win over Julia Budd. The victory put the 28-year-old on a seven-fight win streak, with a unanimous decision victory over Harrison before that and five more by way of knockout.
Now, Pacheco is expected to face Amber Leibrock at PFL 5’s co-main event, in Atlanta, Georgia. The June 10 card is scheduled to be headlined by a match in the heavyweight tournament between last year’s GP champion Ante Delija and UFC veteran Maurice Greene.
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