We hear the term “world champion” get tossed around in sports. However, it is rare for a champion to have competed at the highest level against the best competition in various locations worldwide. MMA is an exception, with multiple world champions spanning several continents.
The highest level of MMA is the UFC, a brand that was once on the doorstep of extinction. It now holds events all over the world. London, New York, Shenzhen, Melbourne, Rio de Janeiro, and Abu Dhabi are just a few worldly locations that have benefited from MMA’s success.
What About The Past?
But what about when MMA wasn’t so big? What about when the late U.S. Senator John McCain fought hard to ban the sport, labeling it “human cock fighting.” When the UFC had to move an event overnight from New York City to Dothan, Alabama. Shouldn’t the places that helped keep MMA alive be rewarded with great fights in the 21st century?
One of those places is Hawaii. When the rest of the U.S. wanted to shut the sport down, Hawaii welcomed its competitors with open arms. Legends like Dan Severn, Vitor Belfort, Nick Diaz, and more ventured to the islands to fight. Hawaii and its Blaisdell Arena were hosts to great fighters and the world-famous promotion, Superbrawl. Though Bellator has appeared, the sport’s biggest promotion refuses to come.
What Seems To Be the Issue?
Why? It’s simple: money. Like all things, money has prevented the UFC from coming to Hawaii. Despite pleas from fighters Max Holloway, Punahele Soriano, and more, the UFC sees too many red flags in the islands. They would have to pay huge fees to the Hawaii tourism board; Hawaii doesn’t have a big enough venue to hold that big of a crowd. Previously, Aloha Stadium was suggested, but it’s open-air, and Dana White refused to hold an event where the weather could ruin it. The Stadium was condemned in 2021.
Why Should the UFC Come to Hawaii?
The answer is very simple, location, location, location. Yes, we can spend hours talking about Hawaii’s passionate fans or the plethora of talent in the islands, but the driving force for the UFC is money. The UFC has already shown a commitment to its Asia/ Oceanic markets with various events hosted by nations who share the Pacific Ocean. However, Hawaii is a happy middle ground for fans from North America, South America, and Oceania. Events like Rim-Pac and Kawaii-Kon host people from all over annually. It would be a great place for fans to come together and share in the sport they love.
It is unfortunate to see the sports so beloved in the islands be only accessible through TV or plane ride. Hawaii has provided some of the most electric environments in MMA in recent memory, but that will only be a luxury for Bellator. Will the UFC consider another alternative? Probably not, but fans can still hold out hope.
Will the PFL come to Hawaii before the UFC does?
Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images