Dana White suggests friction with Hawaii’s tourism board is why the UFC has yet to touch down on the islands.
White landed in Hawaii with UFC featherweight champion, and Hawaii native, Max Holloway for the Lookin’ For A Fight series. White told KHON2 the UFC is eager to travel to Hawaii but the promotion has faced issues with the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
“Max wants it bad,” White said (h/t MMA Fighting). “Listen, we want to come here. We love this place. We got the get this thing figured out eventually. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens. I want it, does the tourism board want it? Do they or do they not? If they do, we’ll come. If not, we understand.”
“This place has been the spot for mixed-martial arts since the late 90s,” he continued. “I haven’t been out here for a fight in awhile so it was good to be back. I had Max with me seeing some of the local guys, but the main event was the fight I was really interested in. It was great. I love being out here watching fights.”
The UFC reportedly wanted a $6 million sponsorship fee to have a show in Hawaii last year, more than what it costs to hold the NFL Pro Bowl there. Hawaii Tourism Authority vice president Leslie Dance said last year that figure exceeded their entire budget.
Although UFC has yet to host an event in Hawaii, Bellator is planning to host its third Hawaii card later this year, with Ilima-Lei Macfarlane vs. Kate Jackson serving as the headliner. The promotion hosted Bellator 212: Chandler vs. Primus 2 and Bellator 213: Macfarlane vs. Létourneau in Honolulu last year.