Being the champion of the UFC is more about just a gold strap, it’s about marketing power and promotional leverage. Max Holloway unified the titles and defended the undisputed featherweight title against Jose Aldo with back-to-back finishes. All the while, he was using the momentum gained from his win and being Rolling Stone’s Fighter of the Year for 2017 to get the UFC closer to finally putting on a Hawaii card. Thank to his efforts, it now looks closer than ever after what is reported by KHON to be a successful meeting between the Hawaiian Tourism Authority and the UFC just went down.
“UFC Hawaii is not just about me. Hawaii is MMA. So many local martial artists that could be helped with a UFC event here. Instead of money leaving Hawaii for every event it’s time to bring it home. Thanks Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) and Aloha Stadium for fighting for Hawaii.” — Max Holloway yesterday via his Twitter.
— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) January 24, 2018
“The Hawaii Tourism Authority is concerned UFC Hawaii might attract problems outside the Octagon. Fair play to them. They’re trying to protect our home. But let’s let them know MMA is about respect and Hawaii fans will make sure of that. Fights stay in octagon. Fighters and fans from out of town, we’re gonna’ welcome you with open arms. We’re gonna cheer against each other, but when it’s over we’re gonna’ show you around and share our cultures. Just like Brazil did w us. Let’s tell the HTA mahalo and let them know what UFC Hawaii means to us.” — Max Holloway via his Twitter back in December.
The HTA were scheduled to meet with officials in the next couple of months earlier in January, but it seems like both parties were eager now to make something happen. HTA President George Szigeti met with the UFC and they are currently in negotiations for a UFC Hawaii card in Summer or Fall of this year with Max Holloway as the main event. The word is that these plans will be finalized after Holloway’s fight with featherweight title contender Frankie Edgar on March 3rd. After all of this work and progress, the event should come together whether Holloway wins or loses at UFC 222.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/24/2018.