First of its kind sports event showcases at the Blaisdell

Javen Guzon
Javen Guzon
Brandy Leaver
Brandy Leaver

By Stephen Florino - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Fans and fighters of mixed martial arts are converging to the Blaisdell this weekend.

It's for a first of its kind event, putting everything about the sport under one roof.

The Blaisdell Exhibition Hall looks empty.

But it's filled with action, getting ready for Hawaii's first ever Mixed Martial Arts, Sports and Fitness Expo.

"I am feeling very excited at this point, and very happy," said organizer Javen Guzon.

This expo has been over a year in the making.

It'll feature more than 200 exhibitors covering everything from clothes, clubs, and nutrition.

There's also a ring for fight demonstrations.

The goal -- give fans a place to learn more, and provide answers to those who question the sport.

"MMA in Hawaii is already really really big. I think for me, for a while, some people took it as something negative," said organizer Brandy Leaver. "I wanna bring it into a positive light the community. It's a lifestyle, it's not just MMA we're bringing here, it's also the fitness industry, just something positive for Hawaii."

Brady Leaver should know.

She traded in her bikini for boxing gloves.

"The intensity. It's a challenge, mentally and skillfully. Just all around," said Leaver.  "I'm an athlete, I've always been an athlete, so it really takes my athletic ability to a whole new level, and it's fun and it's real."

And that's what organizers are hoping for the expo's future.

"The expo is for the industry. For everyone here in Hawaii. My goal for this expo is to make it international, and make it a yearly event here in Honolulu."

Local fighters Niko Vitale, Egan Inoue, and UFC lightweight champ BJ Penn are scheduled to be there.

The expo starts Friday night and runs through Sunday.