MMA fighting

Dana White: If Amanda Nunes fought Kayla Harrison’s opponents, it would be “maybe the first death in MMA”

UFC president Dana White continues to downplay the talents of two-time PFL champion Kayla Harrison.

In an interview Tuesday with Yahoo! Sports, White said Harrison’s run in the tournament-based promotion did not prove her to be a world-class competitor.

“Kayla Harrison hasn’t fought anyone yet,” White said. “She didn’t fight anyone. Let me put Amanda Nunes with the girls she fought – this might be MMA’s first death, okay? And listen, I like her, I have nothing against her. But come on, let’s be honest.

Despite repeated claims of no personal grudge against the Olympic gold medalist, White’s remark was the last time he questioned Harrison’s undefeated achievements in MMA. The UFC executive has been asked several times about Harrison’s signing during his rapid rise to the cage after a decorated career as a judoka.

Harrison, the No. 10 fighter in the world in the MMA World Ranking, entered free agency after her second victory as the PFL Champion last month. She beat four consecutive opponents – three of them in the first round – to claim another payout of $ 1 million for her tournament victory in 2021.

Ahead of the fight, Harrison proclaimed that she would be MMA’s greatest free agent and targeted “the money that changes the life” and is fighting the screaming Cyborg and Amanda Nunes. Cyborg is the Bellator featherweight champion, while Nunes holds the UFC bantamweight and featherweight titles. Harrison once competed at featherweight in the all-female Invicta FC promotion.

White had previously advised Harrison to stay in the PFL, where there is less opposition and higher wages. Harrison said she would continue to focus on competition and let her management team negotiate the best deal.

White has indicated he’s ready to sign Harrison despite everything he’s said. It remains to be seen whether all the rhetoric will influence Harrison’s decision.