Stars aligned for Galaxy MMA
By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer
In a Galaxy filled with stars, who will become the next superstar?
Galaxy MMA — Hawai'i's newest professional mixed martial arts organization — will attempt to answer that question during its inaugural show Saturday at the Blaisdell Center Arena.
The goal, according to Galaxy MMA president Mark Pang, is to give Hawai'i fighters an opportunity to compete for pay, and perhaps serve as a stepping stone to larger organizations, such as the UFC.
"We picked Galaxy because we feel like each one of our fighters is like a star," Pang said. "Some are bigger than others, but the main thing is that they're all out there for the people to see. Hawai'i is such a hotbed for MMA, we feel like the fighters just needed a showcase to support them."
The inaugural Galaxy MMA card will showcase 11 bouts, with the main event featuring Kailua's Scott Junk against Brazil's Fabiano Scherner in a heavyweight bout.
Junk was a competitor on the Spike TV reality show "The Ultimate Fighter" last year. He suffered an eye injury during the show, and Saturday will be his first bout since then.
"He felt like he didn't have his best showing there because of the eye thing, so this is his chance to show that he's still a viable fighter," Pang said. "He wants to get back to the UFC, and we want to help get him there."
Scherner is a six-time former world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Saturday's event will be just the third professional MMA show staged at the Blaisdell Arena since the state implemented rules to regulate the sport in July 2009.
"It's a tough time to get into it, sure," Pang said. "You have to pay all these fees to the state, plus your rental fees to the Blaisdell, plus your marketing and paying the fighters. It all adds up."
Pang said he does not expect Saturday's event to be profitable because of start-up costs for the organization. However, he said Galaxy MMA will be around for at least three shows.
The organization even purchased a new hexagon-shaped cage that it will unveil Saturday.
"We're committed to at least three shows," Pang said. "We can assess it after that."
Pang is the owner of the Fighter's Corner store in Kalihi, and has been involved in the MMA community for several years.
"Being in the business definitely helped get this started," Pang said. "Fighter's Corner has a pretty good reputation among the fighters, so that made it a lot easier to sign guys up for this."
Pang said he has a staff of eight assisting him with the production. Profitable or not, Galaxy MMA will "give back to the community," he said.
The organization is already working with the Hawai'i High School Athletic Association's Save Our Sports campaign.
"Most of the athletes we showcase will come from backgrounds of high school sports here," Pang said. "So we want to make sure we do our part to support them at a young age."