Where Will Kayla Harrison Go Now That She’s a Free Agent?

Cris Cyborg Bellator MMA
Cris Cyborg, Bellator 249 Credit: Bellator MMA

3. Bellator

Bellator truthfully had a lot more steam behind them before their second best featherweight jumped ship to the PFL earlier this fall.  Going into Harrison’s free agency, the promotion was expected to make a serious offer with a lucrative contract and the prospect of facing elite level competition in their champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino and longtime former champion Julia Budd.  Though a number was never disclosed, Bellator President Scott Coker stated in 2019 that Justino received the biggest contract in the history of women’s MMA.  It is expected that Harrison will likely be offered a comparable deal considering her age and upside compared to Justino at this stage of their careers.

Compared to the UFC and the PFL, Bellator without Budd still brings a notable advantage at the negotiating table with their roster.  Aside from Cyborg who remains the biggest name at featherweight in the world after Amanda Nunes, the company also has former Invicta champion Pam Sorenson, Arlene Blencowe, and Cat Zingano on their roster.  While not as well-known as some of the bantamweights the UFC may have move up to face Harrison, it is easily the most respected feathweight roster available.

Harrison joining Bellator will likely come down to the deals on the table financially.  While the promotion can not compete with Harrison potentially earning UFC pay-per-view points if she were a title holder, the value of her contract up front upon signing could be the difference in her signing with Bellator or the PFL.  Harrison has publicly stated she has a number in mind and that being a mother will affect her business decision.  Earning immediate money upfront as opposed to possibly gradually earning money over time in the UFC may become a sticking point.


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