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Monday, September 26, 2022

An elite fighter always wants to test themselves against the very best. It’s Not Quite That Straightforward

Kayla Harrison, a competitor in professional mixed martial arts, has said that she would want to compete against Amanda Nunes, a former champion in the women’s bantamweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). If professional MMA were just a sport, though, rather than a business,

She would have no interest in having an undercard or an audience. Harrison, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo and a fierce grappler in M.M.A. bouts, said that she would invite a few of the industry’s power brokers so that they could verify the fight’s outcome. Harrison is a ferocious grappler in M.M.A. fights. In addition to that, she would hold it in South Florida so that the competitors wouldn’t have to travel too far from their respective training sites in South Florida.

At one point earlier this year, Harrison was the most sought after free agent in the sport. She re-signed with the Professional Fighters League in March, and since then, she has been fighting in the lightweight class at 155 pounds. Due to the two-year deal, she became the most highly compensated female fighter in the history of the Professional Fighting League as well as the Women’s Mixed Martial Arts. Harrison will make around $1 million in revenue every fight, and she has the potential to earn an additional $1 million if she wins the PFL title this year.

The fight between Harrison and Kaitlin Young, which will take place in Atlanta on Friday, will come to a conclusion in one of three ways: via knockout, submission, or decision. However, a separate difficulty lies in the task of resolving the underlying conflict that exists between the sporting and commercial aspects of the M.M.A.

When Harrison was finally able to become a free agent before the end of the 2021 season, the UFC looked like an obvious choice for him to sign with. The talent agency Endeavor purchased a part in the firm for $4.2 billion in 2016, upped its ownership last year, and now aims to push that value to $10 billion. It is the biggest promotional operation in the sport, and Endeavor plans to boost that price to $10 billion. And the Ultimate Fighting Championship was also the place where Ronda Rousey, who like Harrison had won an Olympic medal in judo, went from being a dominating fighter to a worldwide fame. Harrison won his medal in judo. Like Kleenex is synonymous with face tissue, the brand name U.F.C. is also synonymous with the product category it belongs to.

The UFC made a contract offer to Harrison, but they were ultimately outbid by Bellator, which is a competing company that has a broadcast relationship with Showtime. The Professional Fighting League, which was established in 2017 when a group of investors purchased and renamed the World Series of Fighting, exercised its right to match Bellator’s offer and decided to keep Harrison on its roster.

Given the terms of Harrison’s contract, it would seem that financial concerns will not be an issue for the PFL. The league has a long and diverse list of investors, some of which include Ted Leonsis, the owner of Washington’s National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, and National Hockey League teams; Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia; the rapper Wiz Khalifa; and Kevin Hart, the comedian.

In May, the Professional Football League was successful in securing $30 million in investment from a consortium that includes Alex Rodriguez, a former baseball star who is also an owner in Minnesota’s National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association ownership groups. ESPN is also a partner in the league’s broadcasting agreement.

The company has high expectations that they will be able to use her as the face of their effort to take market share away from the UFC, which is now the leading player in the sport. However, Harrison, who will be 32 years old this coming Saturday, is aware that in order to achieve her potential, she must bridge the promotional divisions that separate elite fighters from one another.

The fight between Harrison and Kaitlin Young, which will take place in Atlanta on Friday, will come to a conclusion in one of three ways: via knockout, submission, or decision. However, a separate difficulty lies in the task of resolving the underlying conflict that exists between the sporting and commercial aspects of the M.M.A.

The UFC made a contract offer to Harrison, but they were ultimately outbid by Bellator, which is a competing company that has a broadcast relationship with Showtime. The Professional Fighting League, which was established in 2017 when a group of investors purchased and renamed the World Series of Fighting, exercised its right to match Bellator’s offer and decided to keep Harrison on its roster.

Given the terms of Harrison’s contract, it would seem that financial concerns will not be an issue for the PFL. The league has a long and diverse list of investors, some of which include Ted Leonsis, the owner of Washington’s National Basketball Association, Women’s National Basketball Association, and National Hockey League teams; Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia; the rapper Wiz Khalifa; and Kevin Hart, the comedian.

In May, the Professional Football League was successful in securing $30 million in investment from a consortium that includes Alex Rodriguez, a former baseball star who is also an owner in Minnesota’s National Basketball Association and Women’s National Basketball Association ownership groups. ESPN is also a partner in the league’s broadcasting agreement.

Donn Davis, the chairman of the Professional Fighting League and a co-owner of the league, said that it was essential to retain Harrison because of her perfect record (13-0) and her Olympic background in order to offer a connection between the league and mainstream sports fans.

Dan O'Brien
I am a journalist for The National Era with an emphasis in sports.
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