UFC to Hawaii? Not Anytime Soon

According to Dana White, the UFC won't be visiting the Aloha state at any point. If you haven't heard, an onerous tax has been placed on promoters strictly for hosting events. That's keeping White at bay:

White, in town to promote the Ultimate Fighting Championship's Jan. 31 fight between champions BJ Penn and George St.-Pierre, says the chances of holding a UFC event in Hawaii are all but dead.

The reason? It's too expensive, White says.

"We finally get some regulations and they slap this huge tax on us that's out of control, so probably never," White says. "I guess it's their way of saying 'OK, we'll sanction this, but we'll make sure nobody ever shows up and comes and does an event here.'"

The bill regulating MMA in Hawaii, which goes into effect July 1, has already hurt local MMA promotions -- including Icon Sport, which held possibly its last show in August after an 11-year run -- and X-1, which hasn't done an event at Blaisdell Arena since May and has been staging its recent shows at much smaller venues.

"Greed got involved and it's a travesty," Penn said. "The real travesty of the whole situation is the children who love fighting and train in people's gyms and love fighting now have people coming in who know nothing about the sport step in and ruin it for the kids.

Dr. David Mayeda and I talked about this, but he clearly knew more than me. Dr., if you're reading this, help explain what the actual terms of the tax are. In any case, the larger point here is that it's easy to blame ProElite for ruining the fertile MMA ground that is Hawaii, but the truth is it goes far deeper than the bureacratic mess in ProElite. And it's also illustrative of how improper regulation can keep out one of the healthiest businesses in a horrendously down economy. I doubt any UFC event will make or break New York State's budget, but certainly there is a cumulative effect to not maximizing a state's resources for monetary gain. Having the ability to host a MMA event the caliber of the UFC's should be a no-brainer, but not everyone in elected office is capable of grasping what appear to be basic tenets of governance.

UPDATE: Dr. Mayeda chimes in here to give a sense of what's going on in Hawaii and reader "cyph" gives us the skinny on the outrageous taxes. Thanks, gents.

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