Monday, August 15, 2022

Kayla Harrison Looks To Spread Positivity In The Face Of Hate

Two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison won’t let herself be bogged down by the negativity of some in the MMA community.

Since making the transition from judo, where she won back-to-back gold medals at the London and Rio Olympic Games, to mixed martial arts in 2018, Harrison has quickly established herself as one of the fastest growing stars in the sport, as well as one of the most dominant.

In 13 career fights, 12 of which have been inside the PFL SmartCage, the Ohio native has maintained an unblemished record that includes 10 finishes, five by submission and five via knockout.

Having achieved the level of success she has in MMA, especially in such a short period of time, one aspect of the fame that comes with it is inevitable: consistent hate. After all, unless your name is Brandon Moreno or Max Holloway, it’s difficult to be universally loved by the sport’s fanbase.

Despite having her fair share of detractors, something that was evident in some responses to her ESPN Best MMA Fighter ESPY nomination this week, Harrison is blocking out the hate, instead looking to spread positivity throughout her career.

“There’s always gonna be negativity,” Harrison said during her PFL 6 pre-fight interview. “There’s always gonna be doubters, naysayers; just people who have got a lot of hate in their heart or are sad, or whatever, but I don’t listen to any of that. I’m excited to be where I am. I love what I do. My goal is to be a light in this world and to spread positivity and joy, because I get real joy out of doing what I do.

“So, you know, I wish all those people who like to hate on me the best, because they’re probably going through something. So, I’m sending them good vibes,” concluded Harrison.

One main narrative used by Harrison’s doubters surrounds the level of competition she’s faced en route to consecutive PFL championships. That was recently highlighted by Bellator champ Cris Cyborg, who developed quite the rivalry with Harrison during the lightweight star’s period of free agency.

Like some fans, the former UFC titleholder responded to Harrison’s ESPY nomination by sharing the lopsided odds for her fights, which ranged from -610 favorite status for her debut versus Brittney Elkin to a staggering -5000 line for her clash with Bobbi Jo Dalziel.

Those who use odds to downplay Harrison’s career will likely look to do the same should she emerge victorious this Friday at PFL 6, where the former judoka will take on short-notice replacement Kaitlin Young as a -6000 favorite, per BetOnline.ag.

But ultimately, as she’s consistently noted, if the level of competition was a stain on her record, she wouldn’t be the only woman showing such dominance under the PFL banner.

And with that, the 31-year-old plans to continuing running roughshod over the women’s lightweight roster en route to a potential third championship and yet another $1 million prize check later this year.

And best believe she’ll be doing it with a smile.

Do you think Kayla Harrison has the right approach when it comes to dealing with hate?

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