The PFL kicked off their regular season over the weekend and is already gearing up for their second event this Friday night. This Friday night will feature the women’s featherweight division which is a change from the last few years where the promotion featured the women’s lightweight division.
2022 champion Larissa Pacheco (19-4) headlines the card as she takes on former Bellator champion Julia Budd (16-5). There’s one major name missing from the women’s regular season and that’s former multiple-time champion Kayla Harrison (15-1).
Harrison signed a new deal with the promotion prior to the 2022 season after flirting with free agency. She won her first three fights of the season setting up her third fight with Pacheco. Harrison was a massive favorite considering the fact that she had fought and dominated Pacheco twice before.
However, this was a different Larissa Pacheco. Pacheco withstood the early grappling storm from Harrison and went on to win a unanimous decision in one of the biggest upsets of the year. Harrison had voiced that she was unsure whether or not she wanted to compete in the season format again given the toll that it takes on you.
When she wasn’t announced for the regular season, many believed it was a Harrison decision. However, Harrison appeared on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour yesterday and revealed that the decision came from the PFL.
PFL chose to hold Harrison out
Harrison said to Helwani, “Of course, I wanted to be in the season… The second I lost, I wrote down my goals. 145 pound champ, gonna be in the season, avenge my loss…” The former champion then revealed that it wasn’t the promotion’s vision to have her compete in the season.
“That’s not what they (PFL) want to do… I don’t know (why they chose to not include her), I think that I get paid a lot of money. I think that they feel like that is not the best way to utilize me. I think that they want to put me on a pay-per-view card against a big name”
Within this response, Harrison also told Helwani that she only had two fights left on her current deal. This could’ve been another sticking point of the promotion considering the fact that the regular season usually coincides with four fights if you make it all the way through.
PFL is working on a new PPV model this year along with Jake Paul where they are hoping to do some superfights. It’s clear that they are holding Harrison for one of those events. Harrison said that the promotion is required to offer her two more fights before the end of the year when her contract is up.
At this point, nothing appears imminent in terms of Harrison returning, but she’s hopeful that she gets to fight two more times before the season is over. My assumption is that we are likely looking at the final year of Harrison with the PFL.