Kayla Harrison, the two-time Olympic judo medalist and current star for promotion the PFL, has sprung to the defense of her upcoming opponent after what she saw as a disrespectful line of questioning in a recent interview.
Harrison is hoping to improve her undefeated MMA record to a perfect 11-0 in the semi-finals of the Professional Fighter’s League women’s lightweight tournament this weekend.
But instead of railing off a list of the kind of trash-talk and insults which have become commonplace in the sport in recent years, the Olympic judoka instead supported her rival after she felt that Genah Fabian had been objectified by a question from a male interviewer.
The reporter in question, who referred to himself as ‘Millz from Pub Sports Radio’, first mispronounced Fabian’s name before saying to her: “Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re a pretty woman.”
This was all that Harrison needed – or wanted – to hear.
“Hey, I’ve got a question for you,” she shot back. “If you were interviewing a guy, after pronouncing his name wrong, would you say, ‘hey, by the way, you’re a really handsome guy. But oh, you can fight too.’
“Would you say that to a guy? No, you just base how you talk to them on their skill and them as a human being.
“Not, ‘Oh – you’re a beautiful man.’ That’s disrespectful. She’s a professional.”
Regardless of the pre-fight camaraderie, Fabian (4-1) will have her work cut out if she is to become the first woman to hand Harrison a loss in professional mixed martial arts competition.
The New Zealand-based star sports a robust background in kickboxing and trains alongside the likes of Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker and others in the famed City Kickboxing gym in Aukland.
Harrison, meanwhile, has been near-flawless in her career to this point, going to decision just twice in ten fights.
The winner of this weekend’s fight will take on the winner of the other semi-final between Larissa Pacheco and Taylor Guardado – and perhaps worryingly for Pacheco, two of her four career defeats have come against Harrison.
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