This week, UFC president Dana White went one-on-one with MMAjunkie.com’s John Morgan to discuss many topics over a half-hour interview, including a potential UFC event in Hawaii.
White was enthusiastic about a desire to hold an event, but held many concerns about a venue to host featherweight division Max Holloway’s potential title defense.
“Listen, nobody wants to fly to Hawaii and do a show more than me and my staff,” White said. “I mean who wouldn’t want to go there? And the media, everybody wants to go there.
“It’s a tough one to pencil. They don’t have an arena,” White continued. “They have the outside bowl (Aloha Stadium). I’m terrified to do anything outside with fighting. I used to spend a lot of time in Hawaii early on when we bought the company, because there were a lot of good fights out there. It rains every 10 minutes. It’s raining, then it’s beautiful out. It’s raining, then it’s beautiful out. It’s scary man, and the thing just doesn’t pencil right now.”
The UFC has only held one outdoor event without a retractable roof in the history of the organization. Back in 2010, Abu Dhabi hosted UFC 112 where Hilo’s BJ Penn lost his lightweight championship to Frankie Edgar.
White didn’t mention two other possible arenas, the Stan Sheriff Center or the Neal S. Blaisdell Arena. Both venues have their own potential issues with capacity or booking regulations, as KHON2’s Always Investigating documented in June.
Despite a reluctance to break standard operation to meet the demands of an event, White wouldn’t completely rule out an event coming to the 50th state.
“Six months ago, I said we wouldn’t do the (women’s) 125-pound division, so I’m not saying no anymore. We’ll see what happens,” White said.
KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello is flying to Las Vegas Wednesday night for the UFC’s international fight week. He will have much more from the fighters and the UFC on this story throughout the weekend.