By: King Eddie
There is something very strong happening right now for Hawaii MMA. Something powerful. Almost spiritual. Through tireless work and countless warriors, the islands are starting to gain a foothold like never before in the sport of MMA. In any other location in the world, to speak of a "Warrior Spirit" would be cliche', but here in Hawaii it's only fitting. Born and bred on ancient soils of the island warriors, the fighting spirit still lives strong within us. And it's starting to make it's presence felt once again, as we speak.
Hawaii has always been a little known, fighting hot zone. And through the years we have had many greats under the bright lights around the world. Fighters such as Egan and Enson Inoue, Ronald Jhun, Niko Vitale, BJ Penn, Kendall Grove, Shane Nelson and many others. But at this very moment, there is a surge in Mana that we can all feel. Whether we choose to admit it or not.
For the MMA community in Hawaii, it's almost as if a turbocharger has been strapped to our energy. Many can feel the continual rise with each passing day. And with weekends like this one, it's easy to see why. Lowen Tynanes and Dustin Kimura lit of the big stages in both Asia and America. Each letting the world know that Hawaii fighters are more than just bangers. Through statements of heart, will, strength, and grappling, these two men toppled tough opponents on the biggest stages in the world. But it doesn't stop there. As it sits now, Hawaii is as strong now in the world of MMA as it has ever been. On the current UFC roster right now we have Travis Browne, Brad Tavares, BJ Penn, Eddie Yagin, Chris Leben, Max Holloway, Dustin Kimura, and Yancy Medeiros. Not to mention the fighters like Jake Heun, Sale Sproat, Brysen Hansen, and Johnavan Vistante who have competed in TUF.
Then in other organizations such as PXC and OneFC, we have fighters like Lowen Tynanes, Harris Sarmiento, Russell Doane, Toby Misech, Kailin Curran, Shayne Biven, Louis Smolka, and Ian Dela Cuesta.
In WSOF we have Tyson Nam.
And In Invicta we have had Raquel Pa'aluhi.
There is a force flowing through us right now that is taking the world by storm. We are on the map once again, and it comes not from just living here in Hawaii. It doesn't come from a any novelty special treatment we get for being thousands of miles from anywhere. It comes in spite of all of that. Our fighters have struggled with lack of opportunity, lack of opponents, lack of pay, and lack of ability to evolve for years and years and years. But now, we are finding ways around it. We are adapting, and we are rising to the top.
After Dustin Kimura's recent UFC debut victory, he and Max Holloway enjoyed a dinner with Eddie Yagin. Though to them it may have appeared as just a mere dinner, it was a signal to any who saw them that Hawaii stands together. We are one. And that is the exact message they should be getting. Because regardless of team, island, or affiliation, we are at our core one and the same. We are all Hawaii. And our statement is being made with each achievement completed by our young men and women determined enough to make it to the highest levels.
Having been a product of the local spirit for years, and now relocated to the mainland, Eddie Yagin feels that Hawaii is now being noticed as a legitimate home to pure talent.
"Look at everything that's happening right now. Hawaii fighters are being recognized for coming to fight. Every one of these guys I see out there are bangers, and I LOVE IT. We are making a statement that Hawaii fighters come to fight, and come to finish. No matter how we gotta finish it, we will. Hawaii, right now, is strong."
Having been a career underdog, Eddie Yagin is now at a point in his UFC career where he may be a mere one or two fights away from a title shot. And pending his medical clearance to compete once again, he makes it his duty to support the warriors of these islands in any capacity that he can. Because at the end of the day, we support one another like no other place in the world.
As the world begins to take notice, we should never pass on an opportunity to remind them that Hawaii breeds warriors. And we should always remind them that we are strong because we stand together. Always. No matter the circumstances, a local fighter will never stand alone. They will always have family. They will always have friends. They will always have fans. And they will always have the undying bond of Hawaii and it's people.