Kayla Harrison

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Kayla Harrison
Kayla Harrison Rio 2016c.jpg
Harrison at the 2016 Olympics
Born (1990-07-02) July 2, 1990 (age 28)
Middletown, Ohio, U.S.
ResidenceDanvers, Massachusetts, U.S.
Height5 ft 8 in (173 cm)[1]
Weight165 lb (75 kg; 11 st 11 lb)
TrainerJimmy Pedro
Rank         6th degree black belt in Judo
Notable club(s)NYAC[1]
USA Judo National Team FORCE
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

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

Early life[edit]

Born in Middletown, Ohio,[2] 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).[3]

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.[4] Doyle was convicted and sentenced to a ten-year prison term.[4] A month after the abuse was revealed, she moved away from her home in Ohio to move to Boston to train with Jimmy Pedro and his father.[4]



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.[2]

She won the gold medal in the −78 kg category at the World Judo Championships in 2010,[5] the first American to do so since 1999 (when her coach, Jimmy Pedro, did so in Birmingham, United Kingdom).[6] 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.[7]

Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, she was injured during training, having torn a medial collateral ligament.[4] 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.[8][9] 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 (USJA) made a batsugun promotion of Kayla 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.[10] [11]

Harrison made her MMA debut at PFL 2 on June 21, 2018 against Brittney Elkin in the Women's Lightweight division.[12] She won via submission due to an armbar in the first round.[13]

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.[14]

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


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."

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
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 27-2 France Audrey Tcheuméo 100-000 2016 Olympic Games -78kg August 11, 2016 Brazil Rio de Janeiro
Win 26-2 Slovenia Anamari Velenšek 100-000
Win 25-2 Hungary Abigél Joó 100-000
Win 24-2 China Zhang Zhehui 100-000
Win 23-2 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 100-000S1 2015 Pan American Games -78kg July 14, 2015 Canada Toronto
Win 22-2 Canada Catherine Roberge 100-000S3
Win 21-2 Guatemala Mirla Nolberto 100-000
Win 20-2 Portugal Yahima Ramirez 000-000 2014 World Championship -78kg August 29, 2014 Russia Chelyabinsk
Loss 19-2 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 001-011
Win 19-1 Slovenia Anamari Velenšek 100-000
Win 18-1 Chinese Taipei Wang Szu-chu 101-000
Win 17-1 Canada Catherine Roberge 000-000
Win 16-1 United Kingdom Gemma Gibbons 0020-0000 2012 Olympic Games -78kg August 2, 2012 United Kingdom London
Win 15-1 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 1010-0000
Win 14-1 Hungary Abigél Joó 1010-0100
Win 13-1 Russia Vera Moskalyuk 1000-0000
Win 12-1 Canada Catherine Roberge 011-001 2011 Pan American Games -78kg October 27, 2011 Mexico Guadalajara
Win 11-1 Cuba Yalennis Castillo 002-001
Win 10-1 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 001-000
Win 9-1 Netherlands Marhinde Verkerk 001-000 2011 World Championship -78kg August 26, 2011 France Paris
Loss 8-1 France Audrey Tcheuméo 000-001
Win 8-0 Japan Hitomi Ikeda 010-000
Win 7-0 Mongolia Pürevjargalyn Lkhamdegd 101-000
Win 6-0 Canada Catherine Roberge 001-000
Win 5-0 Brazil Mayra Aguiar 001-000 2010 World Championship -78kg September 9, 2010 Japan Tokyo
Win 4-0 Ukraine Maryna Pryshchepa 102-000
Win 3-0 France Céline Lebrun 000-001
Win 2-0 Slovenia Ana Velensek 100-000
Win 1-0 Germany Luise Malzahn 003-000


  1. ^ a b c Kayla Harrison. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ a b "Kayla Harrison". United States Olympic Committee. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  3. ^ "Kayla Harrison High School". Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Kayla Harrison wins bronze at 2011 World Judo Championships". PRLOG. August 26, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  8. ^ "Olympics: Harrison wins first judo gold for America". Retrieved August 2, 2012.
  9. ^ Perrotta, Tom. "How an American Took Down Judo". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 20, 2016.
  10. ^ Morgan, John (October 27, 2016). "Two-time Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison signs with WSOF". MMA Junkie.
  11. ^ "Kayla Harrison will compete in MMA, signs with WSOF". MMA Fighting. October 27, 2016.
  12. ^ "Kayla Harrison vs. Brittney Elkin set for PFL 2". MMA Fighting. May 2, 2018.
  13. ^ "PFL 2 results: Kayla Harrison wins pro debut over Brittney Elkin via armbar". MMA Fighting. June 21, 2018.
  14. ^ "PFL 6 results and highlights: Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison wins 2nd pro fight by TKO". Bloody Elbow. August 17, 2018.

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