Kayla Harrisonjudoka who won Olympic gold in 2012 and 2016, thanked sports mma for putting her on her feet.
The 31-year-old American has won twice Professional Fighters League (PFL) lightweight division, doing so in 2019 and 2021, and that you’ve seen her put down a million dollars each time.
However, it was the way to get to this point, since Harrison admits she struggled with depression after winning two Olympic gold medals.
“I kind of fell into a depression” Harrison told BBC Sports.
“You go from waking up at 5am every day and never pressing the snooze button to lying on the couch.
“I didn’t set an alarm, I didn’t leave the house, I didn’t watch TV for years, and suddenly I was immersed for six seasons in all these Netflix shows. It was bad.
“It was like in the movies where you see a guy who broke up with his girlfriend and he has trash everywhere. I guess that’s what I looked like; I was just in a mess.”
The transition from judo to MMA
one day Harrison decided to pull herself together and return to combat sports, first through Muay Thai and then through MMA.
“I really believe in doing something that sets your soul on fire. I am much more active. I don’t just watch people, I like doing things,” she said.
“So, about six months after the Olympics, I went to a local gym in Boston and started Muay Thai, had my first sparring session, and it was a revelation for me.
“I thought, man, this is really hard. When they hit me in the face, it hurts. life with the “what if” question looming over me.
“Anyway, this fire burns a little hotter just because I feel like it, I don’t have much time.
“I was six years old when I started judo and now I’m 31 so I don’t have much time to get really good at judo. Secondly, this is judo on steroids.
“In judo, you have to worry about someone throwing you, strangling you, blocking you, or pinning you down. In MMA, you have a million different things to worry about.
“Are they going to hit you in the head? Are they going to knock you down? Are they going to hit you in the face? Are they going to hit you in the body? I’ve never done anything like this. I love it, I’m obsessed.”