KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello is in Las Vegas for UFC’s International Fight Week. Stay tuned for more special reports from the “Ninth Island” through the weekend.
Oahu’s Travis “Hapa” Browne is hoping his career in the Octagon will continue to follow his life outside of it.
Two years ago this week, Browne was rocked with allegations from his now ex-wife of domestic violence. Browne was subsequently pulled from the UFC’s International Fight Week festivities, but was later cleared by the organization after a seven-week investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Since the dispute, the former heavyweight division top-contender has gone 1-3, and is currently riding a three-fight losing skid.
This April, Browne successfully proposed to his then-girlfriend, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. With his personal life taking shape, the heavyweight division’s ninth-ranked Browne told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello Thursday that he’s ready to restart his career with a wedding back home in Hawaii on the horizon.
“Having her back home, we’ve done a couple of trips and she’s just fallen in love with it (Hawaii),” Browne said. “As soon as we land, we go we get poke and poi. We go straight to the house. We chill and relax. We do what Hawaiians do. So being able to take her back home and incorporate her into the family setting and all of that kind of stuff is amazing.”
This Saturday at UFC 213 in Vegas, Browne will take on the heavyweight division’s 14th-ranked Aleksei Oleinik to headline the preliminary card on Fox Sports 1.
“I’m starting my career back over,” Browne said. “You can’t say anything else but that. I’ve had some good fights in my past and I’m on a recent skid right now, so I’m just starting back from the bottom. I gotta go out and win this fight.”
With a win, Browne could help add momentum to a potential UFC Hawaii event as well as his own championship aspirations.
Despite UFC president Dana White voicing his concerns about a venue this week to MMAJunkie.com, Browne remains confident that his boss can make the long-awaited card happen.
“Knowing Dana as much as I know him, being with the company the last seven years, he’ll make it happen,” Browne said. “There’s nothing holding the UFC back. It’s about timing. It’s about making sure that there’s a draw. Now that we have Max Holloway as the champion, we have Brad Tavares, we have Yancy Medeiros, we have me, we have a bunch of other fighters coming up from Hawaii, what’s going to stop them? That place would sell out so quickly and, like he said in his interview, all you (media) would love to go there and spend a week there, you know what I mean? So who wouldn’t want to? So it will happen. It’ll definitely happen.”
UFC 213’s preliminary card begins Saturday at 3 p.m. HST and will air live on Fox Sports 1.