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Video: Kayla Harrison’s manager accused of cheating during first-ever loss: ‘I will go to war’

Kayla Harrison tasted defeat for the very first time in mixed martial arts (MMA) this past weekend (Nov. 25, 2022), dropping a hard-fought decision (and $1 million) to familiar foe, Larissa Pacheco (watch highlights).

Meanwhile, her manager, Ali Abdelaziz, apparently also suffered an “L” of his own just outside the cage and within earshot of Harrison.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist in Judo entered her 2022 Professional Fighters League (PFL) Lightweight title bout with hopes of collecting her third strap and $1 million prize in a row. Unfortunately for her, Pacheco had different plans in what was their third encounter. The process to get there didn’t come cleanly, however, as Pacheco’s manager and cornerman in the fight, Alex Davis, has now accused Abdelaziz of illegally aiding his fighter.

And there’s video to prove it.

“In this certain circumstance, people have to understand there are two corners — the red corner and the blue corner,” Davis told The MMA Hour. “So, what happened there was the manager came to the neutral side and started giving instructions.

“There’s two problems with that,” he continued. “One, you’re giving her [Harrison] instructions. It’s a third corner. Second, [Pacheco] cannot hear her corner because you have someone yelling near and he was getting right up near the cage. It’s all on video, everybody sees it. This kind of stuff has to be stopped.”

Pacheco’s win over Harrison was undeniably her career best, scoring the upset over the only opponent to defeat her since she left Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 2015. With the 2022 PFL season now over, the community anticipates a tetralogy looming in 2023 with Harrison set to depart the seasonal tournament format and having suffered a loss.

Depending on where the fight happens, expect the commission to keep a close eye on Abdelaziz going forward.

“He walks up blatantly and starts giving instructions from there,” Davis said. “Then I got up and told him, ‘Get back to your corner.’ Then he tells me, ‘Go f—k yourself.’ Then I went to get the official, the official went up to him, he brushed the official off, then I went and got the commissioner. All during the fight and I’m in [Pacheco’s] corner.

”With my fighters, I’m not going to permit this. I will go to war,” he added. “These people work too hard for what they do for us to take illegal advantages. Especially managers. We’re here to assist them. What’re we doing getting involved in things like that? If he was in the other corner, that’s fine.”

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