Cris Cyborg believes Kayla Harrison's free agent status before re-signing with PFL was marketing stunt

Kayla Harrison (left) and Cris Cyborg (right)
Kayla Harrison (left) and Cris Cyborg (right)

Cris Cyborg is of the opinion that Kayla Harrison's free agency was nothing more than a publicity stunt.

Harrison was presented with exciting options when her initial contract with the PFL expired late last year. She could've entered the big leagues by signing with the UFC – setting up a clash with Amanda Nunes. Joining Bellator MMA to make way for a similarly-interesting matchup with Cyborg was another one.

To the astonishment of many, Harrison chose the most conservative approach to her free agency – staying put with the PFL. Cyborg, however, claims she wasn't surprised at all.

Surprise Surprise… The Queen is Back 👑 @KaylaH

During an episode of MMA Fighting's Portuguese-language podcast Trocação Franca, Cyborg revealed that she never believed Harrison intended to leave the PFL in the first place. The Bellator women's featherweight champion said:

"I wasn’t surprised I knew she would stay at PFL. I believe it was just [marketing], but knew she would sign with them." [Translated from Portugese to English by MMA]

Listen to Cris Cyborg's interview below:

The terms of Harrison's new deal were not disclosed to the public. However, her home promotion announced that it was a lucrative multiyear deal. PFL founder Donn Davis also called it a "historic new contract" on social media.

PFL x KAYLA historic new contract.4 years ago … at Caps game we plotted her path.Today … Kayla Harrison No. 1 in 155lb and No. 7 in P4P MMA world rankings.Soon … @KaylaH No. 1 P4P🥇🌎🔥No fighter like her. Authentic. Inspiring. Vulnerable. Baddest. Transcendent.

Cris Cyborg thinks Kayla Harrison fight is unlikely

After the news broke, PFL officials assured fans that they're willing to work with Bellator on a cross-promotion bout between Cris Cyborg and Kayla Harrison. However, Cyborg doesn't think the fight is likely to happen.

"I believe that, for this to happen, she had to have signed with Bellator," the former UFC champion said. "We don’t know what will happen in the future, if this fight will really happen. I’ll continue my work and train, now focused on Arlene [Blencowe], and not think right now about people I might fight in the future. I’ll just focus on Arlene now."

Meanwhile, Harrison maintained that she's still open to fighting Cyborg, but added that she's now focused on the upcoming PFL tournament. The former Olympian will now look for her third consecutive win after dominating the past two seasons.

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Edited by David Andrew
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