The persistence of operant behavior when disrupted tends to be positively related to how often reinforcers were delivered in the past. Behavioral momentum theory describes this finding as the outcome of Pavlovian processes. That is, the relation between discriminative stimuli and reinforcers that were delivered in their presence strengthens behavior, thereby making it more likely to persist. If only the story were that simple. A growing number of findings challenge the basic tenets of behavioral momentum theory. Some even call into question whether Pavlovian relations contribute to persistence in the first place. In this paper, I will review behavioral momentum theory and some of the data that have been problematic for the theory. I will argue that despite these very real challenges, the theory provides important utility not only to basic analyses of response persistence but also to clinical interventions directed at long-term reductions in problem behavior. It, for example, has set the stage for the development of alternative conceptual analyses of resistance to change, two of which will be highlighted for readers. Moreover, behavioral momentum theory may tell us something important about the reasons it continues to have an influence on the field, despite the challenging data that deter it.