UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway took to Instagram this morning to express yet again his desire to see the UFC put on an event in Hawaii.
“Hawaii has more MMA athletes than almost anywhere,” Holloway wrote, “and getting the UFC here would give some of them a chance. To grow their gyms. To be champs for their families. To show our kids in some sad situations a better way.
“…The Hawaii Tourism Authority has a $80M year budget but nothing has been invested in MMA events yet. Maybe we just can’t compete with these other cities? I don’t know.
“But I know this. MMA is part of our culture in Hawaii and it’s getting bigger every day. It’s in our DNA. We warriors. The HTA invests our tax dollars in a lot of events…PGA golf, pre-season LA Clippers, Hawaii Bowl, and you know I’mma probably show up to all of those with Rush. But if we’re going to invest $80M a year to support tourism and spread our culture, I hope we consider how martial arts fits into that. The kickboxing mamas getting in workouts this morning. The young girls learning jiu-jitsu for self defense after school today. My training partners who are gonna get blessed this afternoon. There are thousands of people across Hawaii who make MMA what it is and now that there’s been a change in leadership at the HTA after the audit, I hope we figure out how all of them will be represented in the future.”
In the comments, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane — strawweight champion of the UFC’s rival promotion Bellator MMA, which hosted an event at the Blaisdell last December — added her perspective:
“At some point though you have to ask yourself how a promotion like Bellator MMA was able to come to Hawai’i and still put on one of the baddest shows (totally not biased or anything lol). But they didn’t get anything from the HTA and they still wanted to come to the islands to put on a show for us. Sometimes it isn’t always about the [money] and it’s a shame that other promotions are so business-minded that they forget that, especially after everything Hawai’i has done for the sport. I’m hoping that you get your show one day my braddah, and I wish I could come see you fight but I might be in a camp of my own. Let’s start that Hawaiian wave up again!!!”
Holloway has called for a UFC Hawaii event regularly over the last several years. Bellator MMA is returning to Hawaii in December.