BREAKING: Kayla Harrison Signs With WSOF

It was not long ago that Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison said she was not ready for mixed martial arts (MMA). Soon after victory in Rio, Harrison told reporters:

After a match in judo, you shake a person’s hand or you give them a hug. You bow to them to show respect. MMA isn’t like that. I don’t know if I’m cut out for a world where you get fights based on how pretty you are and how much you talk, and . . . not necessarily what you’ve done in the ring.

Well, apparently she is, because the judo champ has just signed with the World Series of Fighting (WSOF). Kayla confirmed her decision to USA TODAY Sports.

I’ve been boxing and doing jiu-jitsu and all that, and the biggest thing for me, really, is that I miss competing. I miss fighting on the highest stages of the world, and the World Series of Fighting really gave me a great opportunity.

It isn’t only fighting that the judoka will be doing for the WSOF, either. She also confirmed to USA TODAY that she will be a commentator and brand ambassador.

I’m excited for this new chapter. I’m excited to commentate. I’m excited to be a brand ambassador and help the World Series of Fighting grow their organization, as well as help me grow myself as a fighter, as a brand myself, and my foundation. So it’s all coming together, and I’m really excited to be working with such a positive and professional team.

WSOF CEO Carlos Silva said Harrison will make her on-air debut on December 31.  It does not appear she will be fighting at the event, though.

For me, personally, having been president of Universal Sports and being very involved in the Olympic movement with NBC, I’m personally just very excited to have Kayla join our team. If you haven’t ever held a gold medal or seen a gold medal, it’s special, and the people that get them are special. We’re just excited to have her join the team.

Only time will tell as to whether or not Kayla can make a similar impact as her fellow female judoka turned MMA star, Ronda Rousey.  What is known now is that Kayla does not want to be lumped in with the “Rowdy” one.

A lot of times people like to compare me to Ronda. I’m my own person. I make my own decisions. I’ll do it in my own time.

No matter what her impact, though, it will be great to see another Olympian bring more much-deserved attention to his exciting sport.




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