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Kayla Harrison reacts to sexual question from fan, brings Alex Pereira

LockerRoom Team
14 March 2024

As Kayla Harrison gears up for her long-awaited UFC debut against former champion Holly Holm at the upcoming UFC 300 event on April 13th, a recent controversy has cast a shadow over her journey to the octagon.

The highly anticipated UFC 300 milestone event marks Harrison's transition from the PFL to the UFC, where she aims to make her mark in the highly competitive world of mixed martial arts. However, a recent fan Q&A session held before the UFC 299 weigh-ins has left Harrison and the MMA community reeling.

During the Q&A, a fan posed a sexually charged question to lightweight contender Arman Tsarukyan, asking if he was interested in having sex with Harrison. Tsarukyan, displaying professionalism, chose to laugh off the question and swiftly moved on without providing a translation.

Reflecting on the incident during an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Harrison expressed her frustration, highlighting the disrespectful nature of the question and its implications. She emphasized that such inquiries would never be directed at male fighters like Pereira and underscored the need to avoid sexualizing athletes, particularly women, in the sport.

“At one point there was a fan who came up and spoke to Arman in Russian,” Harrison recounted. “Arman was getting booed the whole time, and we’ve talked about it and we’re fine. The guy asked him basically how many times would-, he asked a really inappropriate question about me."

She continued, “Then in the next day I’m tagged in all of these Russian outlets with the translation of what he asked. It’s disheartening I think, it’s disrespectful."

Harrison further stated, “More than that, you would never hear a female get asked ‘How many times you have sex with Alex Pereira?’ We don’t sexualize men like that. So it was disheartening.”

Harrison's remarks shed light on the challenges female athletes often face in combat sports, where they are subjected to scrutiny and objectification beyond their athletic abilities. As she prepares to step into the UFC octagon for the first time, Harrison's resilience and determination serve as a reminder of her status as a decorated Olympian, world champion, and advocate for survivors of sexual abuse.

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With her UFC debut on the horizon, Harrison remains focused on her journey in mixed martial arts, poised to make a lasting impact both inside and outside the cage. As fans eagerly anticipate her upcoming bout against Holm, the controversy surrounding the fan Q&A serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of respecting athletes' professionalism and achievements in the sport.

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