There’s plenty of things to consider when entering the Mixed Martial Arts circuit and it’s increasingly more important to stand out visually and verbally sadly and not just with skills.
We’d blame this on the new owners, but sadly this has been a longer trend in the UFC then just these past several months.
This is making Judo Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison rethink her choices.
As she told MMA Hour:
“I wouldn’t say that I’m not interested, but I will say that I’m interested in MMA in an aspect where competitors are treated as competitors and not as celebrities or as showman,” Harrison said. “All I mean when I pooh-pooh’d [MMA] was I’m not interested in being a talker or someone who is just all about the show. I want do my show in the cage, on the mat or wherever that is.”
She’s still not sure if that would be the right move for her.
“I can’t answer that right now,” Harrison told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “I just don’t know. At the end of the day, I miss competing. I’m not gonna lie to you. I miss that feeling of stepping onto a mat and being the best in the world at what I do and forcing someone to submit. I miss that. But I don’t know if I’m gonna find that in MMA or if I’m gonna find that down other avenues.”
Harrison is aware of the behind the scenes aspect of MMA very well – she’s a former judo teammate of Ronda Rousey and the two are friends to this day. It’s certainly true that Ronda’s personality and charisma played into her success in the UFC.
“I love competing and I love fighting, but i’m not a big talker,” Harrison said. “Ronda and I were teammates for years, but Ronda is much more controversial than me. She’s not afraid to say ‘screw you’ to whoever she feels like it and that is something I applaud her for. I’m a little more diplomatic, I would say.”
Interestingly Harrison talked with Rousey regarding weight classes. Kayla is in a special conundrums she competed in the Olympics at around 172 lbs which is a weight class that doesn’t exist. Rousey assured her that the weight would come off as soon as she started training in multiple disciplines.
Of course this is all assuming Harrison does take the plunge.
“I’m not against MMA,” she said. “I’m not against fighting. I just want to fight at he highest level I can in sport and do it with a certain amount of respect. If there’s a company out there that’s willing to work with me in that aspect, then I’ll never say never.”