Former Bellator featherweight champion Julia Budd’s journey with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) has come to an abrupt end. Budd, a seasoned fighter with a professional record of 17-6, has been released from the PFL, as confirmed by PFL CEO Peter Murray.
The circumstances leading to Budd’s release stem from her scheduled bout against Kayla Harrison at the PFL World Championships, set for November 24, 2023. This matchup was highly anticipated, given Budd’s formidable track record, including notable wins over opponents such as Germaine de Randamie, Arlene Blencowe, Marloes Coenen, Olga Rubin, and Talita Nogueira. However, in a surprising turn of events, Budd was removed from the fight, and subsequently from the PFL roster, for what has been described as a refusal to fulfill her contractual obligations.
The specifics of these contractual obligations and the reasons for Budd’s refusal to meet them have not been explicitly detailed by the PFL. Peter Murray mentioned that Budd did not sign her bout agreement, which was consistent with her contractual requirements. This lack of compliance led to the PFL’s decision to replace Budd with UFC veteran Aspen Ladd for the fight against Harrison.
Budd’s response to this situation has been relatively brief but telling. She stated to Cageside Press’ Dylan Rush, “I got pulled from the fight. No injury. Healthy and ready to fight,” indicating her readiness and willingness to participate in the event, despite the PFL’s claims to the contrary.
Julia Budd’s tenure in the PFL was a mix of ups and downs. After debuting with the organization in 2021, she made a total of five appearances. Despite a strong start with a win against Kaitlin Young, Budd faced challenges in her subsequent fights, registering two unanimous decision losses and one split decision loss. She did, however, bounce back with a unanimous decision win over Martina Jindrova in her last outing with the PFL before this recent development.
The cancellation of Budd’s fight against Harrison marks the second time a scheduled bout between the two has fallen through. A previous matchup was scrapped due to an injury sustained by Budd. With Budd now released from the PFL, the focus shifts to Harrison’s upcoming fight with Aspen Ladd, which promises to be a compelling contest in its own right.
As for Budd’s future, the MMA community will undoubtedly be watching closely to see where this skilled and experienced fighter lands next. Her history of impressive performances and resilience in the face of adversity suggests that this is not the end of her story in the world of mixed martial arts.