Former Olympic judoka Kayla Harrison is a little over a day out from a championship clash with Larissa Pachecho. The winner of this bout, which headline the final Professional Fighters League (PFL) event of the year, will pocket a whopping $1M prize.
In addition to this $1M prize, which is awarded to the champion of each weight class at the end of each PFL season, Harrison also has a lucrative, long-term contract with the league. She suspects this contract is among the most valuable in all of MMA. At the very least, Harrison believes she is probably the highest paid female fighter in the sport.
“They take such good care of me. I’m probably the highest-paid female fighter in MMA right now,” Harrison told MMA Fighting of her contract, the details of which are not public. “I just can’t believe it’s my life sometimes. It’s a no brainer for me. I get to fight for a company that I believe in. My destiny is in my hands. I’m getting paid a ridiculous amount of money and I still get to grow as a fighter.
“It’s really good for the sport. It’s good to have competition. It’s healthy to have growth. My life could not have worked out better.”
Harrison takes great pride in being so well paid, especially given that she believes MMA is still a male-dominated sport.
“It’s humbling,” Harrison said. “I believe that this is still a male-dominated sport but the fact that women can make more or the same as male fighters it’s awesome. It’s really good for MMA. It’s really good for the female empowerment movement.
“I couldn’t be happier with where I’m at, the company I’m with and what I’m doing. I’m excited.”
Suffice it to say that Harrison has come a long way since the early days of her fighting career.
“I would work as a landscaper and walk dogs and work at a hardware store for 50 hours a week and go to high school and train full time. Just struggle, struggle, struggle,” she recounted. “I can’t believe that this is my life. I can’t believe I get paid so much money to do what I love.”
This Kayla Harrison vs. Larissa Pachecho fight, and the other PFL finals, go down on New Years Eve in New York City.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 12/30/2019.