Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has been a proud ambassador for the state of Hawaii, a historically significant location for the sport of mixed martial arts, since his debut in the Octagon in 2012.
While in Singapore, preparing for his bout with Chang Sung Jung, the native Hawaiin is expressing his frustration with the government’s response to the devastating wildfires that have officially claimed 111 lives and destroyed a substantial portion of Maui.
“The state, the government at so many levels, I’m straight up going to say it, they failed the people of Lahaina and it’s kind of heartbreaking,” Holloway told TMZ on Friday.
His criticism quickly turned to praise for his home state.
“When it felt like they were lollygagging, too, after everything happened, the people, the Hawaiian people, the locals there are the ones that stood up, that took on the responsibility, and are helping, and are still helping as we speak,” he said, visibly distraught.
“It’s just tough man. The amazing thing is that all of Hawaii can come together and pull through. ..You’re seeing it…The Hawaii people band together” he added.
A report by The Daily Mail seems to echo Holloway’s claim of residents picking up the pieces being left behind by government institutions. Locals who are carrying out their own search and rescue operations say the death toll is at least 480 and morgues are running low on body bags.
Even with the “heartbreaking” turn of events, “Blessed” hadn’t considered pulling out of his upcoming fight against The Korean Zombie.
“If I can just take their minds off of the tragedy…for a second, for a minute, five minutes, whatever it is…I’m going in there a bit heavier now…After the fight, I’m going to use my platform more to help,” he said.
Max Holloway faces Chang Sung Jung on Aug 26 in Kallan, Singapore.