HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - It’s been six months since Ilima-Lei Macfarlane blew the roof off the Blaisdell Arena in her Bellator flyweight title defense against Valerie Letourneau.
It was an emotional night not just for Macfarlane, but also for the sold out crowd in attendance. As a way of giving back to Hawaii, the former Punahou graduate made her return to the Blaisdell Center this afternoon to host a Brazilian-jiu-jitsu seminar alongside MMA legend, Royce Gracie.
“This is our way -- Bellator’s way -- of saying thank you to the fans,” Macfarlane said. “Honestly, I feel like what happened at the Blaisdell in December was because of the fans. It wasn’t because of me, it wasn’t because of the fights, it was the fans that were the ones that made it such an unforgettable, historic moment in MMA.”
With a few dozen fight fans and jiu-jitsu practitioners in attendance, Gracie and Macfarlane drilled, instructed and posed for pictures with everyone in attendance. For Macfarlane, it’s the least she can do to give back to her home state that has given her so much.
And in a way, the same can be said for the Bellator organization which continues to grow its fan base across the state.
In fact, Macfarlane confirmed that Bellator is in advanced talks to host another event later this year after a successful debut event in 2018.
“Nothing official, but I will say try to stay on island in the winter time,” Macfarlane said. “You might want to stay on island.”