Now that the PFL has acquired Bellator, many felt that Harrison (16-1) would stick things out with the organization in the hopes of a super fight with Bellator’s 145-pound champion in Cris Cyborg (27-2)
But, in a shocking turn, Dana White announced earlier this week that Harrison has signed a deal with the UFC. Furthermore, she will make her debut by moving down to bantamweight to fight Holly Holm (15-6), the former 135-pound champion, at the UFC’s monumental 300th event in April.
— danawhite (@danawhite) January 24, 2024
The opening betting lines have Harrison listed as a massive favorite to win at -375 on BetOnline.ag, Conversely, Holm came in as a considerable underdog at +310.
Kayla Harrison -375
Holly Holm +310
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) January 24, 2024
With the departure of Harrison still fresh, PFL CEO Peter Murray has announced that the organization will close the door on their women’s featherweight division for the 2024 PFL season.
But, the removal of one division opens the door for new life, as the PFL has added the Women’s flyweight division, that will feature the talented 2023 PFL Europe champion Dakota Ditcheva (10-0).
— PFL (@PFLMMA) September 30, 2023
As for active 145-pound competitors that remain with the organization, such as the legendary Cris Cyborg and the 2-time PFL champion Larissa Pacheco, the PFL will still have a place for them to compete outside the regular season.
Additionally, the Bellator events that are still planned to occur under the PFL banner are likely to continue with the Women’s 145-pound weight class as well.
The PFL’s CEO also touched on Harrison’s choice to depart from the organization, and he extended nothing but support, with a dash of apprehensiveness mixed in regarding her drop to 135-pounds.
“Listen, we wish Kayla well,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said on Wednesday when asked about Harrison’s exit. “She’s a two-time champion with us, women’s 155, and she’s moving on to UFC. She’s going to be on a historic card, which I believe is a testament to the level and quality of talent in the PFL. We wish her well.
“It’s going to be interesting to see Kayla fighting in the 135 division, but [we wish] nothing but the best, nothing but love. We’ll continue to be excited about supporting women in the sport. We have some of the best women on the planet in combat sports.”
While Murray declined to get into the details of Harrison’s PFL contract, he did voice his displeasure with the Women’s MMA star’s decision. While still supporting his former fighter and accepting her decision to move on, Murray discussed the fact that they had all the ingredients for the biggest fight in Women’s MMA history, but they were not able to bring it to fruition.
“We had the fight that matters. The fight that matters most. Candidly, the biggest fight in women’s sports, in MMA. Ultimately, Kayla made a decision to move on. We wanted to make that fight, but once again, we’re going to continue building what we’re building. We have a great PFLW roster, and in respect to contract details, it’s all good. We’re supportive of Kayla.”