Money, proposed date of event derailed UFC in Hawaii

April 4, 2018

Dana White stated at the UFC 223 pre-fight press conference on Wednesday that the promotion is no longer interested in a UFC event in Hawaii.  After Max Holloway urged the UFC to hold a fight in the state earlier this year, White stated that the tourism board shut down the idea of event in the state this year.

According to Hawaii News Now, tourism officials for the state say the UFC demanded a $6 million sponsorship fee in order to host a PPV at Aloha Stadium this summer.  The amount would exceed one which the Hawaii Tourism Authority paid the NFL in order to host the Pro Bowl.  The HTA’s entire annual budget for sports marketing is $5.8 million according to the HTA.  The tourism board countered with a $1 million offer to the UFC.

The event was to take place on August 4, 2018.  Notably, it was announced that the Staples Center in Los Angeles would host a UFC PPV on that date with Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw scheduled to fight on that card.

The UFC estimated that 20,000 people would come to Oahu’s Aloha Stadium to watch the bout.  The HTA did not agree with the August date since it would in the midst of tourism season and preferred a “fall or spring” date.

Payout Perspective:

It’s too bad that the negotiations appeared to be a take it or leave it situation with the parties far apart in fees and a date for the event.  From the HTA perspective, the UFC’s asking price was way over its budget despite the likely sell that the economic boon ancillary to the event would boost the local economy.  While the UFC could have done a smaller venue, the article indicates that the UFC wanted to go big here with a stadium which plays into a concern for White.  The August date would probably ensure good weather while a fall event may bring up an issue with weather.   If Holloway upsets Khabib on Saturday, expect the Hawaiian native to revisit the Hawaii event and for the HTA and the UFC to head back to the negotiating table.

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