Now that she’s had time to reflect on her first-career MMA defeat, Kayla Harrison has gained some perspective.
Harrison, a former two-time Olympic gold medalist in judo, had been an unstoppable force in her first four years as a pro, running her record to 15-0 and winning two PFL women’s lightweight titles. Heading into the 2022 PFL Championships, Harrison was a huge favorite to win her third title in a trilogy with Larissa Pacheco, who’d lost all eight rounds combined in their two previous fights.
Pacheco pulled off the massive upset, though, this past Friday as she claimed the lightweight title by unanimous decision with 48-47 scores from all three judges.
In the immediate aftermath, Harrison made no excuses for her performance when she spoke with reporters. On Tuesday, she took to Instagram to share a picture with her kids and a caption that contained an emotional message.
“God is good all the time.
“I struggle to find the words right now to properly articulate how I’m feeling. I think like the most people when falling short I feel sad. Angry with myself. Disappointed. Heart broken. Nothing stings for me quite like the pain of failure.
“I want every young person reading this to know that it’s ok. It’s ok to fail. It’s ok to stumble. And I see it. I read what everyone is saying. But I am not ashamed. I step in the cage and I walk in life knowing that failure is a possibility. I know that I live my life out loud and the consequence of that is to be seen and to be humbled. I’m beyond upset about losing. I can’t ever really describe to you how it will haunt me.
“But I keep going back to that first sentence. God is good all the time. Not when it’s good. Not when it’s bad. He’s just always there. He’s always got us. It’s going to be ok.
“And I’m not done. Not even close. 🤍”
Harrison, who signed a new contract with the PFL before this season began, has two fights left on her deal. She’s vowed not to partake in the 2023 season format but is expected to be featured on pay-per-view.
It’s possible Harrison could meet Cris Cyborg if the current Bellator women’s featherweight champ is able to come to an agreement with the PFL.