Two-Time Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison Signs with World Series of Fighting

By Tristen Critchfield Oct 27, 2016
Olympic judoka Kayla Harrison will eventually make her first mixed martial arts foray under the World Series of Fighting banner.

The promotion confirmed the signing of the two-time gold medalist on Thursday following an initial report from MMAjunkie.com. A date for Harrison’s debut is unclear, but she will also serve as a commentator and brand ambassador for the Las Vegas-based promotion.

According to the report, Harrison will make her first appearance during the broadcast of WSOF’s Dec. 31 card in New York.

“I’ve been boxing and doing jiu-jitsu and all that, and the biggest thing for me, really, is that I miss competing,” Harrison told MMAjunkie.com. “I miss fighting on the highest stages of the world, and the World Series of Fighting really gave me a great opportunity.”

Harrison won gold medals in both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics in judo at 78 kilograms, which is approximately 172 pounds. After winning gold in Rio de Janeiro earlier this year, Harrison initially shot down an immediate move to MMA.

“After a [judo] match, you shake the person’s hand and you give them a hug, and you bow to them to show respect,” she said when speaking to media after her gold medal victory. “In MMA, it’s not like that, and I don’t know if I’m made – I don’t know if I’m cut out for a world where you get fights based on how pretty you are and how much you talk, and not necessarily what you’re worth in the ring.

“So for me, right now, it’s just going to be focus on being a two-time Olympic champion, enjoy the moment, live in the moment, and never say never – but right now, the answer is no to MMA.”

Clearly that perspective has changed, but it still could be a while before Harrison debuts in the WSOF cage. According to the report, Harrison expects to need at least a year of training before accepting her first fight.

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