Olympic gold medalist-turned mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Kayla Harrison is coming off her second million-dollar PFL tournament win, but there are questions as to whether she’ll stick with the promotion now that her current contract has ended.
TMZ Sports talked to her manager Ali Abdelaziz, who seemed to tip his hand toward Harrison returning to PFL. But, all options are open to the judo master ... even UFC. The only thing Ali closed the door on firmly was a switch to professional wrestling with the WWE.
“I believe you need to be loyal a little bit in this business,” Abdelaziz said. “And I think PFL deserve to be loyal to them, and we’re gonna see what they say.”
“Everybody trying to sign Kayla. Even Walmart try to sign Kayla,” he added. “The WWE been calling too, but we’re interested in real fighting. She’s focusing on fighting right now. PFL, it doesn’t matter where she gonna be. Whatever Kayla wants. Like I said, I’m a servant, I have many masters, and she is my master and I’m going to serve, make sure she make the best money.
“Number one thing for Kayla is really the money, she has to be happy,” he continued. “And I think she’s happy at PFL. But listen. I got great relationships with UFC, Bellator, but I have to show a little loyalty to PFL.”
If it’s all about the money, promotions are going to have to pony up something that adds up to more than $1 million per year, because that’s what Kayla has been pulling in PFL. This is probably why UFC President, Dana White, has been so dismissive of her in recent interviews — nothing generates more flat quotes from White than a non-UFC fighter looking for an uncomfortably large payday. Especially when she competes in the relative wasteland of women’s Featherweight.
“She is the richest,” Abdelaziz said. “Right now she is. She’s making more than anybody in this business right now.”
For her part, Harrison isn’t bothered by White’s comments. In her mind, she’ll just keep doing what she’s doing and when UFC sees the value in that, the company will pay her what she deserves.
“Dana has said a lot of things before,” she said in a new interview with MMA Fighting. “It’s my job. If I want to fight in the UFC someday, if I want to fight at featherweight for the UFC some day, then it’s my job to prove to him that I’m worth the investment and I’m worth the risk. All I can do is to continue to go out there and be so dominant and continue be so good that you can’t ignore me. I know that I’ll do that.”
“He says a lot of stuff and I know that I’m going to make him eat his words and he’ll smile when he does it and it will be great. I’m not worried about it. That time is coming.”