Gold medalist Kayla Harrison has turned down multiple MMA offers

Friday August 12th, 2016

Olympic gold medalist Kayla Harrison said Thursday she has received multiple offers to fight in MMA promotions, but she has no interest in joining the sport at this point.

Harrison, 26, became the first American to win two gold medals in judo at the Rio Olympics. There was speculation Harrison, who is retiring from judo, could take up MMA. UFC star Ronda Rousey won bronze in judo at the 2008 Olympics.

“It's just so different from judo,” Harrison said, according to ESPN. “After a match in judo, you shake a person's hand or you give them a hug. You bow to them to show respect. MMA isn't like that. I don't know if I'm cut out for a world where you get fights based on how pretty you are and how much you talk, not necessarily what you've done in the ring.”

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Harrison said her goal in retirement will be to help grow judo within the United States. She also plans on spending more time on her foundation, Fearless, which works with victims of sexual abuse. Harrison herself was a victim at the hands of a former judo coach. 

Though she acknowledged MMA could give her a bigger platform to grow judo, Harrison seemed content to end her fighting career in Rio.

“This is my legacy,” Harrison said. “I retire as a two-time Olympic champ, one of the greatest the sport has ever seen.”

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