Venue issue preventing UFC to make Hawaii appearance

July 14, 2017

The UFC is not coming to Hawaii any time soon according to local reports in Honolulu.  However, Dana White supports a recent proposal to build a smaller venue which, if done, White promises the UFC will come to the islands.

With the current lightweight champion Max Holloway at the height of his popularity, he is lobbying for a match in Hawaii.  However, White is balking at this right now due to the lack of a stadium.  The main concern, according to a White interview with MMA Junkie is that an outdoor stadium could be a mistake due to the potential for rain.  Also, the start time would happen during the middle of the day when temperatures and humidity could be a factor.

Notably, the Professional Fighter’s League had a situation where rain on the canvas made it difficult for fighters.

Stadium Authority chair Ross Yamasaki issued a statement:

As a board member I feel that the statement by Mr. White on behalf of the UFC validates few points that the Board’s consultant has reported. First, there is a need for a larger venue in the state of Hawaii to host events for the benefit of the community. Second, there is market demand for such a venue. Finally, there is market demand that the current facility may not readily capture.

Please note that the current concepts and associated cost of an new venue in the consultant reports do not include a covering, however it is information from the market that will help shape the design requirements of the venue and associated financing options as the process moves along.

Right now the Authority is proceeding with its plans for a EIS/Masterplan of the stadium site, which will provide the Authority, the Legislature and the Administration greater clarity regarding next steps for development.

Payout Perspective: 

In an interview with KHON, White indicated that a smaller event like a Fight Pass or Fight Night event would not work out.  Thus, PPV or no event due to the fact of the costs to hold an event in the 50th state.

The sentiments expressed by White are similar to those of professional teams wanting a new venue to accommodate their professional sports team.  But, unlike a pro team, the building of an arena in Hawaii would leave a void if they cannot attract more events to the area.  Certainly, there is a demand for not only attracting the UFC, but other touring groups to stop in Hawaii.  Due to the long trip to the islands, it is usually missed on a world tour of a musical act or performing group.  But, a new venue could help sway more acts to visit the islands.  And, due to the lengthy trip to get to the Hawaii, it would likely mean more than just a one night stay.  Local politicians have picked up on White’s comments as a rallying point to support their viewpoints of building an arena.  While the construction of a venue would mean more jobs for the region, the question of whether they can keep it full is a long-term issue.

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