Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison signs with World Series of Fighting
While this past summer’s Olympic games were being held, judo star Kayla Harrison could not avoid the question about potentially transitioning to mixed martial arts to follow in the footsteps of former UFC champion and Olympic bronze medalist, Ronda Rousey.
Harrison, 26, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports that she has signed with World Series of Fighting (WSOF) to serve as a commentator and brand ambassador, and to eventually debut as a professional fighter, as well.
Harrison claimed gold medals at 78 kg (approx. 172 pounds) at both the 2016 Rio de Janeiro and 2012 London Games.
“I’ve been boxing and doing jiu-jitsu and all that, and the biggest thing for me, really, is that I miss competing,” Harrison said. “I miss fighting on the highest stages of the world, and the World Series of Fighting really gave me a great opportunity.”
According to WSOF CEO Carlos Silva, Harrison will make her on-air debut for the promotion on Dec. 31 for the company’s NBC-broadcast WSOF 34 event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“For me, personally, having been president of Universal Sports and being very involved in the Olympic movement with NBC, I’m personally just very excited to have Kayla join our team,” Silva said. “If you haven’t ever held a gold medal or seen a gold medal, it’s special, and the people that get them are special. We’re just excited to have her join the team.”