Kayla Harrison made an Military veteran faucet out and moved nearer to cashing in at the richest combat of her professional occupation: her seek for gold over, Harrison can stake her declare to $1 million within the PFL Championship.
Harrison, a two-time judo Olympic gold medalist, has been driven because the face of the MMA promotion that pushes playoffs and a championship structure that ends Dec. 31 in New York with a $1 million prize for every of its six weight elegance champions.
Harrison (Five-Zero) expects to ring within the new yr a champion — and a submission win over Morgan Frier on Thursday evening helped clinch the No. 2 seed within the girls’s light-weight department. Sarah Kaufman, a former UFC fighter, holds the highest spot within the issues standings and may well be not off course for a championship combat towards Harrison.
“It will be the PFL’s dream,” Harrison yelled within the cage, “and I’ll be a millionaire!”
The PFL held the primary of 3 directly regular-season playing cards at Ovation Corridor (inside of Ocean On line casino Lodge) that may set the playoff box for 3 combat nights in October in Las Vegas. The highest 8 combatants within the 5 males’s divisions need to win two bouts in a single evening to earn a berth within the finals.
Introduced final season out of the ashes of Global Collection of Preventing, the PFL entered a 2nd season with the championship bouts set to run this yr on the Hulu Theatre in Madison Sq. Lawn on ESPN2. PFL, which counts comic Kevin Hart amongst its superstar traders , reached a multi-year handle the community to air fights on ESPN and the streaming ESPN-plus carrier — the similar TV house as business chief UFC.
“It is a complementary product to the UFC and others,” PFL CEO Peter Murray stated. “It is a other product enjoy and on a distinct evening of the week. What we learn about this fan, they would like extra reside high quality product. We are ready to offer that.”
The 29-year-old Harrison used to be the primary appeal of an eight-fight card ( Kaufman used to be a walkover winner ) that had early bouts run on ESPN-plus and 4 fights in primetime on ESPN2.
“It is actual cash on this recreation,” Murray stated. “We lead with combatants first, allow them to do their industry and pay them. When cash’s at stake, no longer most effective do the combatants lean in, what did we see this night?”
PFL had 5 first-round finishes and the following winner within the bracket awaits — there is no want for the standard fighter callout for a combat that can tantalize fanatics but by no means occur. The lightweights and featherweights combat July 25 and lightweight heavyweights and heavyweights whole the steady season on Aug. eight at the Boardwalk.
Harrison graded her combat evening a B-minus — similar to PFL, looking to ranking an A. The sector had perhaps 2,000 fanatics and the promotion has but to catch on with the TV target market, suffering to attract 150,000 audience on cable. The lag in combat playing cards — there is a two-month hole between the general playoff card on Oct. 31 and championship evening — and loss of starpower in a recreation already going through a glut of secondary promotions places PFL at the backburner.
“This yr is actually all about high quality distribution and extensive succeed in,” Murray stated. “It is the early days. We are taken with that reside video presentation and distributing it around the globe. That is the place we are placing a large number of our creativity, a large number of our sources. As we keep growing consciousness, and construct the call for for the reside match enjoy, that may practice.”
Harrison, a detailed pal of UFC bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes, may just spark the expansion.
“I have made it very transparent that my objective is to head down as one of the most highest to ever do it,” Harrison stated.
Nonetheless very uncooked within the cage, PFL has constructed a 155-pound department round Harrison. No U.S. judoka — guy or girl — had ever received an Olympic gold medal ahead of Harrison beat Britain’s Gemma Gibbons to win the ladies’s 78-kilogram and beneath department on the 2012 Olympics in London . She received gold once more 4 years later on the Rio de Janeiro Video games and made her MMA debut final yr.
“We think to be together with her for a few years,” Murray stated.
All Harrison cares about is the following combat — and a few giant greenbacks in her pocket to head with the gold round her neck.
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