Kayla Harrison (center); Mike Tyson (right)

'You hear me, I never shut up'- PFL star Kayla Harrison reveals details about a potential commentating role for the Tokyo Olympics

Johny Payne

PFL star Kayla Harrison has revealed details about a potential commentating role at the Tokyo Olympics. Harrison asserted that she’d definitely be open to working as a commentator.

One of the greatest Judokas in the world, Kayla Harrison is no stranger to the Olympics. Harrison won gold medals in Judo in the 78 kg weight category at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.


Kayla Harrison retired from Judo in 2016. Harrison revealed that commentating is something she considered after retiring from Judo. Similarly, she might commentate on MMA fights after her retirement from the sport. Harrison opined that this would be a great way for her to stay connected to the fight game, be it Judo or MMA, after retiring from both sports.

While transitioning to the role of a full-time commentator after retiring could be on the cards, Kayla Harrison’s already worked as a guest commentator at Judo and MMA events.

After her retirement from Judo in 2016, Kayla Harrison subsequently made the transition to the sport of MMA. Harrison’s now regarded as one of MMA's top prospects. The 30-year-old American grappling savant has evolved her striking prowess and overall MMA skill-set in recent years.

We spoke to Kayla Harrison ahead of her upcoming fight at PFL 3. In conversation with the outstanding Judoka and MMA fighter, we learned a few interesting details regarding her plans as a commentator.


The multi-talented Kayla Harrison has worked as a commentator in the past and plans to do so in the future as well

Sportskeeda: You spoke about your gig with the Olympics. Hopefully this summer with NBC and a commentary gig. Now, a lot of MMA fighters obviously transition post-career to some kind of broadcasting role – Is this you, kind of like testing the waters? Have you done this type of thing before?

Kayla Harrison: I did some commentating. I used to do commentating on the international Judo circuit, like, after I would compete sometimes I would go and be a guest commentator. And I commentated for PFL or what was World Series (World Series Of Fighting) before I started fighting (for PFL formerly known as WSOF).
And it's definitely something I enjoy. I think that looking back I was way too inexperienced to be commentating. I think back to like how little I knew, and like I was sitting next to like Randy Couture like talking about, ‘Oh, you know, the double bottom line’, like, I think about that and like, ‘Oh, my god’. I'm so like, ‘Please just shut up, Kayla’.
But NBC reached out to me for the Olympics. I kind of had been thinking about it in the back of my mind since I retired like, ‘Oh, I wonder if they'll ask me to commentate’. And, you know, I don't have to go to Japan because of COVID. So, it's going to, obviously with the kids, I probably wouldn't have been able to do it. But because it's all going to be stateside, I'll be able to do it.
I have to audition. So, that’ll be interesting. But, yeah, I would definitely (consider commentating). You hear me. I talk a lot. I never shut up. So, I think it's actually something that I could enjoy and still be involved in the sport, without getting punched in the face. Like, I know I don't want to be a coach, so this would be a nice way to still stay involved.

Sportskeeda: Yeah, you say audition. Is that going to be like a live fight, or is it going to be like a sport or something?

Kayla Harrison: We're going to do the 2016 Olympic Games, and they'll have the play-by-play analyst with me, and I'm just supposed to call the fights from the 2016 (Olympic) games. I don't know which ones. And I don't remember them, to be honest. Either way, it's been a very long time ago. So, yeah, that'll be exciting.

Sportskeeda: Is it gonna be blind – You go and you don't know what fight you're going to be commentating on, and you're reacting?

Kayla Harrison: So, it'll be like as if I were going to commentate for the Olympics this year. They send me all the research, like, NBC has researchers and background stories. And, you know, they want you to use your relationships with the athletes that you know and ask them what's going on and get backstories because it's all about storytelling right. Commentating and, obviously, you're talking about the play by plays, but really people listen to stories.
That's why people watch the Olympics. That's why people watch sports. You know they want to hear the human side of it. So, I'm going to have all the research I have. I told them that it would have to be after this (PFL 3) fight. So, I'm gonna have all the research on the matches I'm gonna commentate. And then I'm not going to watch the matches ahead of time or anything. I'll just know about the athletes, so I can give a little sprinkle, a little bit of story, or the (background information).

Kayla Harrison aims to win the PFL women’s lightweight title for the second time in her MMA career

Kayla Harrison won the 2019 PFL women’s lightweight tournament, capturing the PFL women’s lightweight title and winning the $1 million prize. The 2020 PFL season was canceled owing to the COVID-19 global pandemic. The PFL’s 2021 season has thankfully gotten underway.

The 2021 PFL season features many high-profile MMA superstars such as Anthony Pettis, Fabricio Werdum, Kayla Harrison and Rory Macdonald among others in its tournaments. On that note, Harrison will be looking to replicate her previous success and once again win PFL world title gold.

Kayla Harrison is scheduled to fight Mariana Morais in a lightweight bout as part of the 2021 PFL women’s lightweight tournament. The Kayla Harrison vs. Mariana Morais fight will serve as the co-main event of PFL 3 (May 6th, 2021).

Edited by Jack Cunningham
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