Hawaii’s Max Holloway is hoping to bring more than just the UFC featherweight championship back to his home state following Saturday’s UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi.
The Waianae native, who will face reigning champ Alexander Volkanovski in the co-main event of the ‘Fight Island’ card, will be raising money for the Hawaii Food Bank.
“Me and me team, we sat down and 95 percent of our work now is trying to help charity and charity work. What we’re going to do is my whole fight kit, I’m going to be auctioning it off and every single penny I make off of it, we’re going to donate to the Food Bank of Hawaii,” Holloway said on Tuesday during the official UFC 251 media press conference.
“We’re blessed. And blessed, pun intended,” Hawaii Food Bank president and CEO Ron Mizutani told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello on Tuesday. “He has a choice on who he wants to support and he uses great care. The fact that he recognizes the good work that the Hawaii Food Bank does and make no mistake about it, Max is an advocate and supporter of Hawaii Food Bank. He donates his time. He has volunteered at our food bank quietly all the time with little fan fare.”
“The unemployment rate right now in Hawaii is at like 40 percent, an all-time high, and it’s just my way to, you know, I’m getting food on my table so if I can give back to my people and try get food on their table and this is the way to do it, this is the way we got to go,” added Holloway.
Holloway will auction off items from his official fight kit that he will don in his rematch against Volkanovski. This past December, Holloway had his five-year, 14-fight winning streak at the 145-pound division snapped with a unanimous decision loss to the Australian.
Holloway gave credit to fellow UFC starts Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov for inspiring Holloway’s efforts. Last year in Abu Dhabi, the two faced off for the lightweight title and both auctioned off items from their fight kit. Poirier raised more than $60,000 from an eBay auction with gear from the fight.
The UFC 242 package included Poirier’s fight-worn hand wraps, gloves and shorts. It also included his security pass for UFC 242, as well as Nurmagomedov’s walkout shirt, which he exchanged with Poirier for the effort immediately after the fight.
The funds went toward Poirier’s The Good Fight Foundation charity, which is teaming with Justin Wren’s Fight for the Forgotten to help build water wells in Uganda after a school and orphanage had its supply spoiled due to a storm.
Poirier was awarded the inaugural recipient of the Forrest Griffin Community Award two weeks ago, which recognized a UFC athlete for their exceptional volunteer and charity work and the meaningful impact their efforts have on the community.
“Shout-out to my brothers Khabib and Dustin. They’ve been really paving the way and doing it, especially Dustin with his stuff. He’s been inspiring me a lot in a lot of ways with a lot of stuff outside of fighting. We’re more than athletes. We’re trying to be bigger than the sport and this is one of the things that I know I can help myself and help my people,” said Holloway.
Stay with KHON2 and Max Holloway on social media to learn when the auction will begin and how you can bid.
UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi will take place on Saturday, Holloway’s title bout will be the co-main event of the main card which will begin at 4 p.m. HST on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
“We wish him well, we’ll be cheering him from here from afar for the champ and we just appreciate all that he has blessed us with,” Mizutano said.
Kailua’s Martin Day will also be fighting on Saturday, opening the preliminary card against Davey Grant, which is set for noon HST on ESPN.