RIZIN Fighting Federation are currently gearing up for RIZIN 38 and Super RIZIN on September 25 — but the promotion is also looking to finally hit American shores. Particularly, Hawaii.
With that in mind, the Japanese promotion has enlisted the help of UFC legend B.J. Penn, one of the island state’s most famous athletes, as well as Enson Inoue and Egan Inoue.
The promotion announced their plans to host an event in Hawaii at a press conference earlier this week in Wakiki Beach, and in a subsequent press release.
“Today, we have two big announcements to make. Starting today, we will attempt to host RIZIN’s first international event here in Hawaii, next year. Of course, we understand that RIZIN is still not a common name, but we will do our best to become the most dynamic and dramatic combat sports event in Hawaii,” RIZIN Fighting Federation CEO Nobuyki Sakakibara stated.
In regards to Enson Inoue, Sakakibara added that “He will support us locally, along with many others.” Those others including Egan Inoue and Penn, who were both in attendeance. Sakaibara also noted that Bellator CEO Scott Coker and Super RIZIN star Floyd Mayweather were supporting the effort.
Penn would give the following statement:
“I want to thank everybody for coming out here today and supporting mixed martial arts. I want to give a very big ‘thank you’ to Sakakibara for putting this event on and for looking towards Hawaii as a place to hold many future events. I’m very glad that the fighters in Hawaii will get this opportunity to showcase their talents. I want to thank Enson Inoue for having me involved in this event. Enson is a big inspiration to my career and Hawaiian Mixed Martial arts period. I’ve known him since I was 10 years old, watching him fight in Japan and America, in the UFC. It’s done wonders for everybody in Hawaii. Thank you Enson for all that you’ve done for us. Thank you to all the fans and thank you to everybody for coming out here. Thank you RIZIN, we expect great things from you guys. I will be supporting you, Sakakibara.”
Both Inoue brothers competed in PRIDE, Sakaibara’s previous promotion, which was eventually bought up by the UFC. Penn did not, but did fight in Japan under the K-1 banner.
Penn recently came up short in a run for governor in his native Hawaii.