Olympian Kayla Harrison to Debut in MMA

Announced this morning, two-time Olympic gold-medal winning judoka Kayla Harrison is going pro in a whole new combat capacity. Harrison isn’t a fan of the culture of MMA aside from competition but yet has just signed with the third major promotion in the sport, World Series of Fighting.

Harrison has been developing a hybrid skillset since winning her second medal in Rio over the summer.

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

It has since been revealed since the initial reports first came out that Harrison will debut at WSOF 34, their debut in New York City at The Theater at Madison Square Garden on the afternoon New Year’s Eve card. The event has some controversy around it after the promotion canceled two events to stack the WSOF 34 event. The MMA community is also questioning its longevity with their well-known financial troubles.

At any rate, WSOF is looking to grow with Harrison, a former judo training partner of Ronda Rousey, and their relationship with NBC Universal. WSOF broadcasts their events on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN.) The New York event will be on prime time NBC.

“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,”WSOF CEO Carlos Silva said. “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.”

“I just want everyone to be excited and expect big things from me,” Harrison said. “This is only the beginning."