HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - There aren’t many promoters left in the fight game that can say they’ve seen it all.
But Bellator president Scott Coker has been a witness to the rise of mixed martial arts on a global scale and couldn’t help but feel nostalgic when talking about the rich history of MMA in Hawaii.
“It’s a great feeling to come and give back. And give value back to the community,” Coker said during Thursday’s Bellator 213 press conference. “I’m looking forward to seeing all the local talent. This has been an area that I think, for many years even before Super Brawl or Rumble on the Rock - which I used to come and watch all the time and really enjoyed it”
Coker enjoyed visiting to the islands not only as an executive in the fight game, but also as a fan. He would even go out of his way to put on a show for the passionate Hawaii fans in the community.
“I was working for K-1 (kickboxing)at the time, did a fight at Aloha Stadium. Renzo Gracie fought BJ (Penn),” Coker said. “We had a lot of great times here on the island. And the one thing about Hawaii is they bring it. The fighters here bring it.”
On this weekend’s slate of back-to-back fight cards on Friday and Saturday are a host of Hawaii fighters, most notably Bellator flyweight champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane and young, rising prospects in Nainoa Dung, Kona Oliveira, Ed Thommes and Michael Nakagawa.
“Expect some great fights on the undercard and we will be watching and we think there’s gonna be some great talent,” Coker said. “This is an event we’d like to do maybe once a year. Come out here, scout the talent and bring our top fighters out and get it on.”