Kayla Harrison pleads for Cris Cyborg ‘winner take all’ fight, invites her to ‘juice to the gills’

MMA Fighting

Two-time PFL champ Kayla Harrison interrupted Wednesday’s broadcast of The MMA Hour to plead for a fight with reigning Bellator featherweight champ Cris Cyborg.

Informed by her teammates of Cyborg’s move into professional boxing, Harrison vented on Twitter before coming on the show to again push for a fight with the all-time women’s MMA great, offering her eye-raising terms to make it happen.

“We can do winner takes all, or we can do when she loses, she gets to keep her purse,” Harrison said. “If she needs help getting the deal signed, I will call [PFL executives] Peter Murray … and Donn Davis and ask them, whatever price she wants, I will speak to them on her behalf.

“And I’ll go through a full [U.S. Anti-Doping Agency] drug testing — I will be drug tested every day from now until the fight, if she’s worried about that. And she doesn’t have to be drug tested at all. The only thing I ask is that they allow elbows.”

Asked why she was adamant on the striking weapon, Harrison said: “So I can put one through her skull.”

Harrison is scheduled to face Martina Jindrová on Aug. 20 in the PFL 2022 Playoffs. It’s her try at a third $1 million tournament win that would further establish her as one of the best featherweights and overall fighters in women’s MMA. What Harrison wants, however, is to be known as the best in both, and a fight with Cyborg is one of the quickest ways there.

After hearing that Cyborg is headed to the squared circle against Simone Silva on Sept. 25, Harrison couldn’t help herself and called out the champ on social media, sparking a back-and-forth with the Brazilian.

Harrison was referencing Cyborg’s 2012 drug positive for steroids that resulted in a one-year suspension. She was flagged for a potential anti-doping violation in 2017 under the UFC anti-doping program but was granted a retroactive therapeutic-use exemption for a banned substance she failed to disclose while in the drug testing program.

The social media outburst earned a quick response, Harrison later tweeted.

Asked about her “irony” tweet, Harrison pointed to Cyborg’s hesitance to face her based on her past opposition and current record, indicating she hadn’t earned the fight.

“I fight the cans, everyone’s a can — can, can, can, tomato can, Del Monte can, they’re all cans,” Harrison said. “She’s fighting someone who’s 17-21 — in boxing.”

“OK, in boxing,” Harrison added to concede the difference between boxing and MMA.

Prior to Harrison’s impromptu appearance on The MMA Hour, Cyborg sat down with Ariel Helwani on Wednesday’s show and indicated she is open to fighting Harrison. She also wouldn’t feel unfulfilled if the matchup didn’t materialize.

Cyborg said a fight with Harrison would need to be a co-promotion between Bellator and PFL, though she also said she is currently a free agent. (A source with knowledge of negotiations told MMA Fighting that Cyborg is not a full free agent and is within her exclusive negotiating period with the promotion as a current champion.)

“I’ve been in a lot of big fights in my career,” Cyborg said. “I think she really needs one biggest fight for her career too. I’m happy with my career. I can finish my career and not fight Kayla. But it’s going to be great if this fight happens. If people would like to watch the fight, it’s going to be great. But just not on the internet, they have to make it happen.”

Cyborg said there had been no serious negotiations between the PFL and Bellator over a potential fight, while Harrison said PFL execs had reached out to Cyborg with a lucrative offer.

After the Twitter spat, PFL exec Donn Davis even stepped into the fray, drawing another fiery response from Cyborg.

Harrison said the important thing for MMA fans to consider is that she’s tried to make the fight with Cyborg happen. It hasn’t as of yet because of how her PFL contract is structured, but that could change if the two promotions decide to work together.

“When I was a free agent, I took steps to make this fight happen, did I or did I not? I received an offer, I accepted that, PFL had the right to match that, PFL matched that,” she said. “But everyone knew why I was coming to Bellator, and it wasn’t because of PFL. It was for one person. It was for Cyborg, and I’m still trying to make this fight happen.”

“[Cyborg] could be like Thanos and have all the jewels,” she added, referencing Cyborg’s career titles in Strikeforce, UFC, Invicta FC, and Bellator. “That’s a legacy that can’t be tainted. I’m giving her the opportunity.”

Harrison even revealed an offer to fight Cyborg in April under the Bellator banner that was nixed by her new contract with PFL.

At this point, Harrison believes Cyborg doesn’t want to fight her.

She isn’t letting go just yet, however.

“I probably shouldn’t be talking about this, I probably should be focused on my fight — I want to make this fight happen,” she said. “I’m not fake. This is what I want.”

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