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Iced out! Frustrated Kayla Harrison wanted to be in 2023 PFL season: ‘I’ve been depressed about it’

PFL 10: Championships Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Kayla Harrison is watching Professional Fighters League (PFL) move along without her.

PFL’s 2023 season kicked off this past weekend (Sat., April 1, 2023) without its biggest homegrown superstar. It was known going into the 2022 season that it would be Harrison’s — a two-time Lightweight champion — final run through the tournament format.

However, she’s now wishing it wasn’t.

For 2023, Harrison is contracted to fight twice exclusively on PFL’s upcoming new pay-per-view (PPV) events, which are expected to start before November or December, according to Harrison. Despite things not going as planned, Harrison says she’ll get paid should she not get to fight.

“I wanted to be in the season,” Harrison said on The MMA Hour. “Of course, I wanted to be the season. The second the tournament was over, the second I lost, I wrote down my goals. I was like, ‘145-pound champ, gonna be in the season, avenge my loss.’ I had all my key areas of focus, and that’s not in the cards for me. That’s not what they wanna do. They want me to fight in the pay-per-view [events].

“I don’t know [the problem],” she continued. “I think I get paid a lot of money. I think they feel like that’s not the best way to utilize me. I think they want to put me on a pay-per-view card against a big name.”

Harrison’s last fight came in the finals of the 2022 season, where she fought Larissa Pacheco in a trilogy bout. The first two bouts went Harrison’s way via unanimous decision, but the same couldn’t be said for part three.

Pacheco pulled off the upset with a unanimous decision win of her own against Harrison in the 2022 finals (watch highlights). Now, the Brazilian knockout artist finds herself spotlighted as the centerpiece of the promotion’s new 145-pound Featherweight division, starting with a match up against Julia Budd this weekend (Fri., April 7, 2023).

“I’ve been a little bit depressed about it,” Harrison said of missing out on the season. “It’s hard to watch something you helped build — no matter how awakened and peaceful I am — the world is still moving forward and I’m sitting right here. Sometimes that’s hard. I want to fight, I don’t just want to talk about fighting. It’s frustrating.”

For additional PFL-related news and notes check out our comprehensive archive right here.

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