HOLLYWOOD, FL – OCTOBER 27: Kayla Harrison v Taylor Guardado in a lightweight championship bout during the PFL championships at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on October 27, 2021 in Hollywood, Florida. (Cooper Neill / PFL)
In January, veteran MMA reporter Ariel Helwani broke the news that the Harrison (12-0) free agent sweepstakes were likely over, and the highly sought after fighter would rebuff interest from the UFC, Bellatorand even WWE to re-sign with the only promotion she has ever competed for, the PFL.
“The strong front-runner to sign Kayla Harrison right now is the PFL. Not a done deal just yet, but they are definitely the strongest atop the leaderboard right now, ”he said in a post to his Substack page.
Kayla Harrison and PFL contract negotiations have stalled
However, in the few weeks since that report it seems that something has changed, and Helwani now claims that contract negotiations with the biggest free agent on the MMA open market have “hit a snag.”
“Talks between Kayla Harrison and the PFL have hit a snag at the 11th hour, I’m told. They aren’t dead but road blocks have materialized. She is now assessing her next move and nothing is being ruled out, ”Helwani tweeted on Thursday.
It is unclear what is the hold-up in what seemed like a slam dunk negotiation just a few weeks ago. Of course, either side could have made last-minute adjustments to the terms of the deal that the other side has balked at.
The leverage that Harrison had after she won a second straight women’s lightweight title, in the 2021 season of the PFL, has seemingly dissipated recently. She entered the market as the biggest name in MMA free agency after dominating her opposition over her first 10 pro fights. However, despite both the UFC and Bellator showing early interest, negotiations with the top two organizations in the sport did not seem to go very far.
Most likely, a return to the PFL boiled down to the league being willing to pay their most marketable talent the sort of money Harrison and her Dominance MMA management team were asking for. If there is not that option to use those other promotions as viable competitors for her services, then Team Harrison may not hold the sway in contract talks that they might have a few months ago.
Do you think Harrison should return to the PFL, or take her chances with less guaranteed money but more upside in the UFC and Bellator?