What’s next for Middletown’s Kayla Harrison in pro MMA?

After winning two Olympic gold medals in judo, Kayla Harrison is fighting in the MMA. She is returning to the ring on Aug. 16. FILE PHOTO

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After winning two Olympic gold medals in judo, Kayla Harrison is fighting in the MMA. She is returning to the ring on Aug. 16. FILE PHOTO

Kayla Harrison officially has a chance to be a mixed-martial arts champion.

The Middletown native who won two gold Olympic gold medals in judo is going to be the centerpiece of a new 155-pound female division in the Professional Fighters League next year.

>>Harrison on winning first MMA fight: ‘What a rush!’

The UFC has women’s strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight and featherweight but the PFL’s lightweight division will be the first of its kind for women.

“PFL is where I want to fight, as I am an athlete who wants to bet on themselves and control my own destiny,” Harrison said in a statement. “I’m so proud to be a part of the PFL as they are trailblazers in the MMA space.”

Harrison made her pro MMA debut earlier this year with a submission victory over Brittney Elkin in Chicago in June. She TKO'd Jozette Cotton in Atlantic City in August.

>>READ MORE: Harrison wins second pro fight

While the UFC and other MMA promotions match fighters more or less the way boxing promotions traditionally have, the PFL format is more like the NFL with a regular season, playoffs and championship match in each of its six divisions.

The league says a total of $10 million will be on the line when the first PFL Championship event is held on New Year’s Eve at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

“The format is great for fighters and they put fighters first in all that they do,” Harrison said. “The fact that they’re allowing women to compete for the same prize money as men in the playoffs is unprecedented and the way it should be.”

The PFL began this year with six men’s divisions. The women’s division is set to debut — with Harrison — in 2019.

Harrison won the gold medal at 78 kg. (172 pounds) during the Olympics in 2012 and '16.

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