PFL Founder Donn Davis Disses Kayla Harrison’s Move to the UFC, Dubs Her a ‘Follower Who Needs Validation’

Davis is still stewing about losing his top star to Dana White and Co.

Donn Davis Disses Kayla Harrison
Courtesy of @MMAJunkie and @UFCNews on X

Donn Davis is still bitter about losing Kayla Harrison.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is one of the biggest names in women’s combat sports, and her star power is only growing. Making a name for herself under the PFL banner, Harrison walked away from the promotion after five years to pursue UFC gold. She got off to a good start in her promotional debut at UFC 300 in April, securing a second-round submission victory over former women’s bantamweight world champion Holly Holm.

It was an especially impressive feat considering a plethora of fighters and fans were convinced that Harrison would never make the 135-pound weight limit.

However, not everyone was happy to see Harrison succeed in her Octagon debut.

Speaking with former UFC referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy, Davis used a basketball analogy to dub the two-time PFL champion as a “follower who needs validation” in response to an inquiry about her departure.

“It’s interesting,” Davis said on the Weighing In podcast. “Some people at the very top of their career are LeBron James, and some at the very top of their career are Kevin Durant. And they’re both otherworldly basketball players, but who they are is very different people. One wants to lead and change their sport, and wherever they are is the best in the world. The other is a follower who needs validation, and we couldn’t do anything about that.”

Donn Davis Reacts to Criticism From Former Bellator Champion Gegard Mousasi

Kayla Harrison isn’t the only fighter who gets Donn Davis’ blood pressure rising these days.

Recently, former Strikeforce and Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi called out Davis and the PFL claiming the promotion was keeping him on ice because they don’t want to honor his pricy Bellator contract.

“They said that the amount [of money I get paid], we don’t want to cut you, it’s so much, that it’s better for you, I don’t know, look somewhere else or do something else,” Mousasi said on The MMA Hour. “At this moment, I’m like, listen, if someone doesn’t want me, I’m like, ‘F*ck it. Let’s go. But my team around me is like, ‘F*ck it, we’ll sue them.’ If it was up to me, I would just go, but I don’t know. We’ll see. The team around me is not that happy. So I think there is going to be legal action against them.

“Yeah, [I feel disrespected] because they don’t even want to pick up the phone and talk to us. It’s not even funny anymore. It’s the worst organization so far. I’ve fought in a lot of organizations, this is the worst one.”

Responding to Mousasi’s complaint without actually saying the fighter’s name, Davis suggested that the PFL would honor everybody’s contract, but cannot promise that everyone who transitioned from Bellator to the Professional Fighters League would be happy with their individual outcome. 

“Occasionally we’ll have a fighter grumble,” Davis said. “It’s one of 205 (fighters we acquired from Bellator). You expect five to 10 percent issues on any deal. You can’t be perfect. You can be 90 to 95 percent. We’ve had a handful of people say, ‘Oh, I wish it went this way, I wish it went that way.’

“I’m delighted. I’m very, very proud of how we treated our fighters. How we treat our employees. Most of all, the product. We just completed our second (Bellator show) in Paris, which was awesome. We didn’t sit on this for six months. We didn’t take a year off. We didn’t lay off 100 fighters. All the stuff that always happens in all acquisitions. So I just could not be more proud.

“I’ll say two things: One, what I’m super proud of is the market, and anyone you talk to – fighters, business partners, media, mangers – we’re direct, fair, and reasonable. 100 percent. That’s my 35 years in business. That’s the culture we’ve built here. So I will say, without commenting out of respect on individual negotiations and specific situations – we’re direct, fair, and reasonable with everybody that we deal with.

“Will everybody’s contract be honored? Of course. Do some people have different ideas of what works and what doesn’t work? Sure. But we’re fair and reasonable with everybody. Will all 205 fighters (from Bellator) have everything fall the way they want? No.”

Watch the full episode below:

Published on May 23, 2024 at 1:27 pm
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