Kayla Harrison

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Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison Rio 2016c.jpg
Harrison at the 2016 Olympics
BornKayla Jean Harrison[1]
(1990-07-02) July 2, 1990 (age 31)
Middletown, Ohio, U.S.
ResidenceDanvers, Massachusetts, U.S.
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)[2]
Weight155 lb (70 kg; 11 st 1 lb)
Reach66 in (168 cm) [3]
Fighting out ofCoconut Creek, Florida
TeamAmerican Top Team (2018–present)[4][5]
TrainerJimmy Pedro
Rank   6th degree black belt in Judo
Years active2018–present (MMA)
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout5
By submission4
By decision2
Notable club(s)NYAC[2]
USA Judo National Team FORCE
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Kayla Jean Harrison (born July 2, 1990)[1] is an American judoka and professional mixed martial artist. Harrison competed in the 78 kg weight category in judo and currently fights in the lightweight division in mixed martial arts. She won the 2010 World Judo Championships, gold medals at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and gold at the 2011 and 2015 Pan American Games.[2]

Early life[edit]

Born in Middletown, Ohio,[6] Harrison took up judo at the age of six, having been introduced to the sport by her mother, who was a black belt. She graduated from Middletown High School (Ohio).[7]

She began training under coach Daniel Doyle, and won two national championships by the age of 15. However, during that period Doyle was abusing Harrison, who reported it to another judoka, who in turn told Harrison's mother. She subsequently reported this to the police.[8] Doyle was convicted and sentenced to a ten-year prison term.[8] A month after the abuse was revealed, she moved away from her home in Ohio to Boston to train with Jimmy Pedro and his father.[8]



She changed weight classes in 2008, from the −63 kg division to the 78 kg division. However, she couldn't compete in the 2008 Summer Olympics as the United States had not qualified in that division. She won the Junior World Championship that year, and the following year placed second, becoming the first American to compete in two Junior World Championships finals.[6]

She won the gold medal in the −78 kg category at the World Judo Championships in 2010,[9] the first American to do so since 1999 (when her coach, Jimmy Pedro, did so in Birmingham, United Kingdom).[10] At the 2011 World Judo Championship in Paris, she placed third taking the bronze medal. Harrison had lost to the eventual winner, Audrey Tcheuméo of France, in her semi-final.[11]

Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she was injured during training, having torn a medial collateral ligament.[8] On August 2, 2012, she won the Olympic title in the −78 kg category, defeating Gemma Gibbons of Britain by two yukos, to become the first American to win an Olympic gold medal in judo.[12][13] She earned a second Olympic gold medal in the same weight class in 2016 in Rio, defeating Audrey Tcheuméo of France.

On August 31, 2016, the United States Judo Association made a batsugun[clarification needed] promotion of Harrison to rokudan (6th Degree Black Belt) making her the youngest person in the US to ever be awarded this rank.

Mixed martial arts[edit]

Harrison, a former training partner of fellow judoka Ronda Rousey, announced in October 2016 that she had signed with World Series of Fighting. While she will initially work as a commentator she also indicated she is contracted to fight, probably in the women's 145 pounds (66 kg) division.[14][15]

Harrison made her MMA debut at PFL 2 on June 21, 2018, against Brittney Elkin in the Women's Lightweight division.[16] She won via submission due to an armbar in the first round.[17]

For her second professional fight, Harrison faced Jozette Cotton at PFL 6 on August 16, 2018. She won the fight via TKO in the third round.[18]

Harrison was on the main card for PFL 11 in 2018 and defeated Moriel Charneski; after her victory, it appeared that she was not completely content with her own performance.

Her coach is Phil Daru.[19]

PFL season 2019[edit]

Harrison was expected to headline the first event of PFL's second season against Svetlana Khautova on May 9, 2019.[20] However Khautova withdrew from the bout and was replaced by Larissa Pacheco.[21] Harrison won the fight by unanimous decision.

Harrison faced Morgan Frier in the co-main event of PFL 4 on July 11, 2019.[22] She won the fight by key lock submission in the first round. Subsequently, Harrison signed a new long-term contract extension with the PFL.[23]

After becoming second in the preliminary round standing, Harrison secured a position at the playoffs. She was originally scheduled to face number 3 ranked Genah Fabian at PFL 7 on October 11, 2019, but Fabian was forced to pull out of the bout. Genah Fabian was replaced by number 5 Bobbi Jo Dalziel. Harrison would win the fight by an armbar in the first round.[24]

Harrison faced Larissa Pacheco in rematch for the Women's Lightweight final at PFL 10 on December 31, 2019. After dominating every round with her superior grappling, Harrison won the fight by unanimous decision to win the 2019 Women's Lightweight Championship.[25]

PFL season 2020[edit]

Harrison was expected to compete in the season 2020 of PFL, but the complete season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[26][27]

PFL season 2021[edit]

Kayla faced Mariana Morais on May 6, 2021, at PFL 3 for the start of the 2021 season.[28] She won the bout via TKO in the first round.[29]

Kayla faced Cindy Dandois on June 25, 2021, at PFL 6.[30] She won the bout in the first round via an arm bar submission.[31]

Kayla faced Genah Fabian in the Semifinals of the Women’s Lightweight tournament on August 19, 2021 at PFL 8.[32] She won the bout in the first round via TKO by way of ground and pound.[33]

Kayla is scheduled to face Taylor Guardado in the Finals of the Women’s Lightweight tournament on October 27, 2021 at PFL 10.[34]

Other promotions[edit]

With the 2020 PFL season cancelled, Harrison was handed a contract exemption to sign with the Invicta FC and made her debut in the Featherweight division against Courtney King at Invicta FC 43 on November 20, 2020.[35] She won the fight via TKO in the second round.[36]

Harrison was then expected to compete for Titan FC.[37] She was scheduled to face Jozette Cotton in a rematch on December 17, 2020, at Titan FC 66.[38] However, Cotton was hospitalized due to a bad weight cut and the bout was cancelled.[39]

Personal life[edit]

In 2020, Harrison acquired full custody of her niece Kyla and nephew Emery, after her stepfather – who had their custody at the time – had suddenly passed away.[40][41]


Kayla Harrison has been a guest in episode 24 of season 6, and in episode 4 of season 7, of the television show Impractical Jokers.

She also appeared on an episode of Flea Market Flip with her grandmother.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
11 matches 11 wins 0 losses
By knockout 5 0
By submission 4 0
By decision 2 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 11–0 Genah Fabian TKO (punches) PFL 8 August 19, 2021 1 4:01 Hollywood, Florida, United States 2021 PFL Women's Lightweight Semifinal bout.
Win 10–0 Cindy Dandois Submission (armbar) PFL 6 June 25, 2021 1 4:44 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 9–0 Mariana Morais TKO (punches) PFL 3 May 6, 2021 1 1:23 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Return to Lightweight.
Win 8–0 Courtney King TKO (punches) Invicta FC 43 November 20, 2020 2 4:48 Kansas City, Kansas, United States Featherweight debut.
Win 7–0 Larissa Pacheco Decision (unanimous) PFL 10 December 31, 2019 5 5:00 New York City, New York, United States 2019 PFL Women's Lightweight Championship bout.
Win 6–0 Bobbi Jo Dalziel Submission (armbar) PFL 7 October 11, 2019 1 3:32 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States 2019 PFL Women's Lightweight Semifinal bout.
Win 5–0 Morgan Frier Submission (key lock) PFL 4 July 11, 2019 1 3:35 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 4–0 Larissa Pacheco Decision (unanimous) PFL 1 May 9, 2019 3 5:00 Uniondale, New York, United States
Win 3–0 Moriel Charneski TKO (punches) PFL 11 December 31, 2018 1 3:39 New York City, New York, United States
Win 2–0 Jozette Cotton TKO (punches) PFL 6 August 16, 2018 3 1:24 Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States
Win 1–0 Brittney Elkin Submission (armbar) PFL 2 June 21, 2018 1 3:18 Chicago, Illinois, United States Lightweight debut.

Judo record[edit]

Result Rec. Opponent Score Event Division Date Location
Win 45-7 France Audrey Tcheuméo 100-000 2016 Olympic Games -78 kg August 11, 2016 Brazil Rio de Janeiro
Win 44-7 Slovenia Anamari Velenšek 100-000
Win 43-7 Hungary Abigél Joó 100-000
Win 42-7 China Zhang Zhehui 100-000
Win 41-7 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 100-000 2016 Pan American Championship -78 kg April 24, 2016 Cuba Havana
Win 40-7 Canada Catherine Roberge 100-000
Win 39-7 Venezuela Andrymar Alfonzo 100-000
Loss 38-7 South Korea Yoon Hyun-ji 000-010 2015 World Championship -78 kg August 28, 2015 Kazakhstan Astana
Win 38-6 Guatemala Mirla Nolberto 100-000
Win 37-6 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 100-000S1 2015 Pan American Games -78 kg July 14, 2015 Canada Toronto
Win 36-6 Canada Catherine Roberge 100-000S3
Win 35-6 Guatemala Mirla Nolberto 100-000
Loss 34-6 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 000-000 2015 Pan American Championship -78 kg April 24, 2015 Canada Edmonton
Win 34-5 Canada Catherine Roberge 100-000
Win 33-5 Mexico Myriam Gonzalez 101-000
Win 32-5 Portugal Yahima Ramirez 000-000 2014 World Championship -78 kg August 29, 2014 Russia Chelyabinsk
Loss 31-5 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 001-011
Win 31-4 Slovenia Anamari Velenšek 100-000
Win 30-4 Chinese Taipei Wang Szu-chu 101-000
Win 29-4 Canada Catherine Roberge 000-000
Win 28-4 Ecuador Vanessa Chala 2013 Pan American Championship -70 kg April 19, 2013 United States San José
Win 27-4 Canada Alix Renaud Roy
Win 26-4 Guatemala Jenifer Ortiz
Loss 25-4 Colombia Yuri Alvear
Win 25-3 Venezuela Elvismar Rodríguez
Win 24-3 United Kingdom Gemma Gibbons 0020-0000 2012 Olympic Games -78 kg August 2, 2012 United Kingdom London
Win 23-3 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 1010-0000
Win 22-3 Hungary Abigél Joó 1010-0100
Win 21-3 Russia Vera Moskalyuk 1000-0000
Win 20-3 Canada Catherine Roberge 011-001 2011 Pan American Games -78 kg October 27, 2011 Mexico Guadalajara
Win 19-3 Cuba Yalennis Castillo 002-001
Win 18-3 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 001-000
Win 17-3 Netherlands Marhinde Verkerk 001-000 2011 World Championship -78 kg August 26, 2011 France Paris
Loss 16-3 France Audrey Tcheuméo 000-001
Win 16-2 Japan Hitomi Ikeda 010-000
Win 15-2 Mongolia Pürevjargalyn Lkhamdegd 101-000
Win 14-2 Canada Catherine Roberge 001-000
Win 13-2 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 000-000 2011 Pan American Championship -78 kg April 1, 2011 Mexico Guadalajara
Win 12-2 Cuba Yalennis Castillo 000-000
Win 11-2 Haiti Nadjeda Gena 102-000
Win 10-2 Colombia Anny Cortés 102-000
Win 9-2 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 001-000 2010 World Championship -78 kg September 9, 2010 Japan Tokyo
Win 8-2 Ukraine Maryna Pryshchepa 102-000
Win 7-2 France Céline Lebrun 000-001
Win 6-2 Slovenia Ana Velensek 100-000
Win 5-2 Germany Luise Malzahn 003-000
Win 4-2 Guatemala Mirla Nolberto Labriel 100-000 2010 Pan American Championship -78 kg April 9, 2010 El Salvador San Salvador
Win 3-2 Venezuela Keivi Pinto 110-000
Loss 2-2 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 000-100
Win 2-1 Argentina Lorena Briceño 100-000
Loss 1-1 Canada Amy Cotton 000-001 2009 World Championship -78 kg August 26, 2009 Netherlands Rotterdam
Win 1-0 United Kingdom Samantha Lowe 000-000

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Mixed martial arts show results Date: October 11, 2019
  2. ^ a b c Kayla Harrison. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ "Kayla Harrison". www.pflmma.com.
  4. ^ Mike Bohn (April 16, 2019). "Kayla Harrison: Winning PFL title, $1 million won't change MMA motivation". mmajunkie.com.
  5. ^ Myron Medcalf (May 9, 2019). "Meet Kayla Harrison: Olympic gold medalist, face of PFL and MMA's next star". ESPN.
  6. ^ a b "Kayla Harrison". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  7. ^ "Kayla Harrison High School". Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  8. ^ a b c d Chadband, Ian (August 1, 2012). "US Judoka Kayla Harrison overcomes horror of sexual abuse to aim for gold". The Telegraph. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  9. ^ "Wenatchee's Farrar second in stage in Spain | A.M. Briefing". Seattle Times. September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on September 11, 2010. Retrieved August 2, 2012. Kayla Harrison defeated Mayra Aguiar of Brazil in the 78-kilogram final in Tokyo to become the first American woman to win a gold medal at the judo world championships since 1984.
  10. ^ "Kayla Harrison Wins World Championships – First American to Win Since 1999". Team USA. September 9, 2010. Archived from the original on August 2, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  11. ^ "Kayla Harrison wins bronze at 2011 World Judo Championships". PRLOG. August 26, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  12. ^ "Olympics: Harrison wins first judo gold for America". Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  13. ^ Perrotta, Tom. "How an American Took Down Judo". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  14. ^ Morgan, John (October 27, 2016). "Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison signs with WSOF". MMA Junkie.
  15. ^ "Kayla Harrison will compete in MMA, signs with WSOF". MMA Fighting. October 27, 2016.
  16. ^ "Kayla Harrison vs. Brittney Elkin set for PFL 2". MMA Fighting. May 2, 2018.
  17. ^ "PFL 2 results: Kayla Harrison wins pro debut over Brittney Elkin via armbar". MMA Fighting. June 21, 2018.
  18. ^ "PFL 6 results and highlights: Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison wins 2nd pro fight by TKO". Bloody Elbow. August 17, 2018.
  19. ^ Sherdog.com. "Kayla Harrison: 'I Had to Fight'". Sherdog. Retrieved April 27, 2021.
  20. ^ "Kayla Harrison vs. Svetlana Khautova now headlines PFL's season debut". mmajunkie.com. May 2, 2019.
  21. ^ Alexander K. Lee (May 6, 2019). "Larissa Pacheco will now face Kayla Harrison in the PFL 12 main event". mmafighting.com.
  22. ^ Tristen Critchfield (May 26, 2019). "Kayla Harrison, Magomed Magomedkerimov Get Fights at PFL 4: 2019 Regular Season". sherdog.com.
  23. ^ Damon Martin (October 10, 2019). "Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison inks long-term extension with PFL". mmafighting.com.
  24. ^ Alexander K. Lee (October 12, 2019). "PFL 7 playoff results: Kayla Harrison armbars her way to finals, David Michaud to face Ray Cooper III for welterweight crown". mmafighting.com.
  25. ^ Alexander K. Lee (December 31, 2019). "PFL 10 results: Kayla Harrison dominates, Ray Cooper III punches way to $1M prize". mmafighting.com.
  26. ^ Farah Hannoun (March 4, 2020). "All six PFL champions to return for 2020 season". MMAjunkie.com.
  27. ^ Dave Doyle (April 26, 2020). "Kayla Harrison copes with uncertainty after PFL postponed 2020 season". MMAjunkie.com.
  28. ^ Santiago, Chris De (March 9, 2021). "PFL Announce Heavyweight & Women's Lightweight Matchups For New Season". LowKickMMA.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  29. ^ Anderson, Jay (May 6, 2021). "PFL 3 Results: Kayla Harrison Beats Down Mariana Morais". Cageside Press. Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  30. ^ Newswire, MMA Fighting (June 1, 2021). "Kayla Harrison vs. Cindy Dandois headlines PFL 6 card on June 25, Fabricio Werdum also returns". MMA Fighting. Retrieved June 1, 2021.
  31. ^ Anderson, Jay (June 26, 2021). "PFL 6: Kayla Harrison Submits Cindy Dandois, Headed to Post-Season". Cageside Press. Retrieved June 26, 2021.
  32. ^ Newswire, MMA Fighting (July 20, 2021). "PFL playoff cards announced with first event kicking off Aug. 13 with Rory MacDonald vs. Ray Cooper in main event". MMA Fighting. Retrieved July 20, 2021.
  33. ^ Anderson, Jay (August 19, 2021). "PFL Playoffs 2: Kayla Harrison Dominates Genah Fabian, Heads to Second Straight Final". Cageside Press. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  34. ^ "Undefeated Harrison headlines PFL's 2021 Finals". ESPN.com. September 27, 2021. Retrieved September 27, 2021.
  35. ^ Kathrine Burne (November 11, 2020). "PFL And Olympic Champion Kayla Harrison Set For Invicta Debut". jitsmagazine.com.
  36. ^ Kathrine Burne (December 9, 2020). "Kayla Harrison Dominates In Her Invicta FC Debut And Moves To 8-0". jitsmagazine.com.
  37. ^ Kahtrine Burne (December 9, 2020). "Kayla Harrison Set For One More MMA Fight In 2020". jitsmagazine.com.
  38. ^ Simon Samano (December 7, 2020). "PFL champion Kayla Harrison books rematch vs. Jozette Cotton at Titan FC 66". MMAjunkie.com.
  39. ^ Danny Segura (December 16, 2020). "PFL champ Kayla Harrison's Titan FC 66 bout canceled after Jozette Cotton's bad weight cut". MMAjunkie.com.
  40. ^ Marc Raimondi (April 21, 2021). "From new routines to new jobs, how Kayla Harrison and other PFL fighters spent their year away". ESPN.
  41. ^ Kayla Harrison: Who you call when s**t gets real. mmaweekly.com. May 4, 2021 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]