HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As mixed martial arts fans across the state clamor for an opportunity to watch UFC champion Max Holloway defend his belt on Hawaiian soil, state tourism officials say they have not yet had any official conversations with the league about bringing an event to Hawaii.
"To date, there have been no formal discussions between us and the UFC," said Leslie Dance, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development for the Hawaii Tourism Authority. "If there's a conversation to be had, I'm sure we'll have it. At this point, nothing official has occurred."
Holloway's victory against longtime featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC212 in Brazil would appear to give the UFC all the ammunition it would need to finally pull the trigger on an event in Hawaii: a local fighter defending his title in his hometown.
Some members of both Holloway's and Medeiros' fight camps believe venues like the Blaisdell Arena and Stan Sheriff Center would be too small for a UFC main event. A Holloway title defense at Aloha Stadium – perhaps one against longtime B.J. Penn foil Frankie Edgar – would likely draw tens of thousands of spectators.
That is, if such an event could be organized.
"It's all pure speculation at this point, because we have no formal proposal, nor have we received a phone call from anybody," said Dance.
That the UFC has not yet contacted the Hawaii Tourism Authority does not necessarily mean that the league has not had closed door discussions with other local parties about bringing a fight to Hawaii.
In a press conference nearly two years ago, UFC president Dana White told reporters he was planning a Hawaii event – one that "would be announced soon" – though he has expressed concerns about the venue.