HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The moment many Hawaii MMA fans have been waiting for has finally arrived.
Ray ‘Brada’ Cooper III and Zane Kamaka will meet in the cage on May 9th in New York City after animosity fueled the build up to the fight.
The drama continued into today’s weigh-in where Kamaka (172.8 pounds) missed the 170-pound weight limit (one pound allowance) requirement by over a pound and a half. Kamaka will forfeit 20% of his purse and Cooper will be awarded the three points in the PFL’s scoring system the two were scheduled to compete for.
Cooper did not have to proceed with the fight but chose to do so out of personal reasons.
Rumors circulated of a family feud between the two throughout training camps and both sides prefer for the talking to be done and the business to be handled inside the cage.
“I’m the one who set this fight up," Cooper said. “I called up (PFL President) Rey Sefo and I told him I wanted this fight first it’s personal with us because he’s a disgrace to my family and I take it personal and everybody going see on May 9th. I going knock him out.”
The two have taken verbal jabs at each other for the better part of the last three months in the lead up to their bout.
Kamaka is ready for a war on Thursday.
“I’m ready to rock. I going finish Cooper anyway I can,” said Kamaka. “I don’t want to sound cocky or anything but I remember everything he said and Thursday night, I’m going hurt him.”
Cooper and Kamaka are both familiar names in the local MMA circuit and started their careers appearing on X-1 World Events promotions and fighting their way through the ranks.
Following his stint with X-1, Cooper finished as the runner up last year in the Professional Fighter’s League Welterweight Tournament. In the $1 million grand prize fight, he fell to Russia’s Magomed Magomedkeriov via a guillotine choke.
The Waianae native believes he has since made the necessary adjustments to win it all.
“I came up a little bit short but that’s how it goes in the fight game," he said. “You can’t make mistakes at this kind of level.”
Kamaka has fought in local promotions for nearly decade and with tomorrow night’s fight in New York City live for the world to see, the Waianae native took some time to reflect on where his MMA journey has led him.
“I was training out of my garage,” Kamaka said. “I then moved to one of the best gyms on the planet in Gracie Technics and now I’m fighting on ESPN in a million dollar tournament. It’s crazy.”
The two will settle their differences in the cage with the world watching live one ESPN2 on Thursday. Although much of the “bad blood” is fueled by internal motivations, the fighter’s are ready to put on a show.
“I know everyone making a buzz about this fight but its not really anything,” said Cooper. “I’m going to go in there and do the same thing I did last season, finish him and everyone else and get back to the finals.”
“I was trying to be cordial and respectful,” Kamaka said. “I feel l like he cross that line with me and I feel like the PFL knew what they were doing selling this fight.”
The fight card starts at 3:00 p.m. HT.