Almost two weeks ago, the Professional Fighters League made the announcement that its 2020 schedule of events would be canceled amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The PFL, which had originally been scheduled to open its third season on May 21 with PFL 1, announced in early April that the start of the season would be delayed due to the world health crisis.
With the April 20 cancellation, the PFL became the first American mixed martial arts promotion to abort its planned schedule for the 2020 year due to recent world events.
In the aftermath of the PFL’s decision to cancel its season this year, Kayla Harrison (7-0), who became the first Women’s Lightweight champion in MMA history on New Year’s Eve, now finds herself with an uncertain immediate future.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto wrote Thursday night:
“The PFL has shut down for the year, but breakout star Kayla Harrison, the 2019 lightweight champion, says she expects the league to honor its contract and offer her two fights in 2020. If not, she said Thursday, she will consider the PFL to be in breach of contract and will look for fights elsewhere.”
Harrison said to ESPN in the article the following:
“The only thing you can’t buy in life is time. The one thing I can’t ever get back is time. And I can’t afford to take 15 months off in the prime of my career. I don’t fight for money, I don’t fight for anything other than the glory, the legacy, the fact [that] I want to be the best in the world at what I do.”
Having seen all seven of Harrison’s MMA fights, I can safely say that she is the new face of women’s MMA.
I surely hope that the PFL can work out something so that Harrison will not be forced to walk to a rival promotion, such as Bellator MMA or the UFC.
Up to now, Harrison has had a meteoric rise to the top of the heap in the sport of MMA—something we haven’t seen in the sport since the days of Ronda Rousey.
PFL CEO Peter Murray has not yet ruled out potential non-season events when it is safe for the organization to hold them.
Last year in the PFL Championships event, Harrison fought Larissa Pacheco for their second head-to-head meeting.
That night, Harrison defeated Pacheco by unanimous decision to become the first Women’s Lightweight champion in MMA history.
Should the PFL choose to hold non-season cards later this year, they should book a trilogy fight between Harrison and Pacheco—with Harrison’s championship on the line.
As a matter of fact, if the PFL books last season’s marquee fighters in non-season events, it would make for an entertaining time.
Rory MacDonald vs. Ali Isaev in a Welterweight title fight would be a great watch, as would Lance Palmer vs. PFL newcomer Jason Soares in a Featherweight championship fight.
Only time will tell what happens with Kayla Harrison’s plans for this year—and for that matter, the PFL’s plans for this year as a whole—so stay tuned as we’ll keep you posted.
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