Max Holloway is crushed by what’s happening in Maui, and the UFC star, born and raised in Hawaii, believes matters have been made worse by the government’s response to the disaster.
TMZ Sports talked to a very emotional Holloway, 31, as he finished preparation for his UFC Fight Night scrap against The Korean Zombie on August 26. Although the fight is going down in Singapore, it was Maui that was very much on Blessed’s mind.
“It’s tough man. Everything that’s going on in Lahaina now is heartbreaking.”
As bad as things are, Max says he’s seen incredible strength in the community.
“The amazing thing is how Hawaii can come together and pull through. The people of Hawaii are coming strong together.”
Of course, Maui is in crisis. The death count is currently at 111, including children, but is expected to rise sharply, as over 1,000 people are still missing. Aside from the tragic loss of life, the area has been ravaged, with hundreds, if not thousands of structures — homes, businesses — burned to the ground.
Much of the affected area still hasn’t been searched … and Max says he’s not satisfied with the government’s response.
“Here, 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 said.
“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. Man, it’s just super heartbreaking.”
Because it’s clearly having such an effect on Max, we asked him if he considered backing out of the fight. But that wasn’t going to happen, because Holloway believes this can be a distraction for the people.
“If I can take their minds off of it for a second, a minute, five minutes, whatever it is, I always go in there thinking Hawaii is on my back. I’m going in there a little bit heavier right now.”
As for those people impacted, Max had a message.
“My main message to the families that are directly impacted, stay strong. We’re all here for you guys. We’re gonna keep this going for you guys. We’re in for the long haul on this fight.”
“This is just the beginning, and we know. The recovery is going to take a long time. Everything is gone, and we know this, and we’re here for the long ride.”