Ep. #50 – Kai Kamaka III

Kai Kamaka III is a Hawaiian mixed martial artist who most recently competed at Bellator 236 in a victory. The featherweight comes from a long line of fighters and is hoping for to compete on the Contender Series in the coming months.


Kai Kamaka III:All right, so how is uh? How has quarantine been uh, treating you uh and the whole pandemic? Um true, i mean i guess, everybody’s taking kind of a hit on this um hasn’t treated me very well. Yet, just because one i don’t have a fight and then um two. I guess my last fight it got cancelled the week of um the week of all when everything i think it was like the second week of march, when everybody started like making calls on calling off events and like oh um, all those kind of stuff was happening Was like the week of my fight and um, i was supposed to find a fury um in texas in houston, texas, so yeah, that’s how that’s a lot happened. So it’s not. I mean it’s going well because i mean i’m staying positive, but i mean it hasn’t treated me well yet. So how has training been good good training’s been going good? I mean it’s kind of hard to stay motivated some days. You know in between workouts driving through my workouts, it um kind of gets like uh. Can i sometimes i got ta fi i got. I just got ta find it in me and it’s so it’s hard to. You know it’s hard to to find it sometimes um, especially especially because of the you know the pandemic, that that’s the main thing um it’s kind of hard to stay motivated during this time, but you got to get it done. I’M saying really optimistic, so i just you know, i’m i i i’m trying to treat it like, as if i have a fight, i just don’t know it yet. So i got ta keep training. Are you uh? Are you training in hawaii yeah, i’m training in white? What’S uh, what’s the training there like, and how has everything been uh like is: are the gyms, clothes and stuff or uh? I i think it’s time to open up again, but we kind of we train it. We train at home uh. We have. We have like a home gym, uh, our tiara, so our team is kind of it’s just our family um. So yeah, it’s more like this, it’s more just our family. So it’s kind of it’s kind of a good. It’S kind of a good thing. I mean we didn’t have to shut down anything. We’Ve been like working out twice a day and stuff like that. So um, you probably know my you probably know my cousin on ray cooper. You’Ve probably heard of him he’s he’s one of those big guys in pfl. Yep, that’s why i train with. What’S it been like working with a with a beast like that day in and day out, it’s very, very motivating, very um, very motivating very scary um, but very um. At the same time, very assuring of what we’re doing so. You touched a little bit about uh fight there cage is it very sorry, fury fc there in texas describe the emotions that that you felt, obviously you were supposed to fight and then it got cancelled and then um. I guess i mean shoot. It was up and down so it was basically like last the friday before we were supposed to leave. It wasn’t even like a monday or like tuesday morning, fight on that friday or saturday. I don’t know but um yeah, so it’s friday before the last work. Actually, i just finished my my last hard sprint routine, that um that we have to go through during camps and stuff is the last one last really hard training, and from this day, from this day on everything tapers down um saturday morning i get back. I get up uh, we have like a. I have something to go to that morning. I think um raise baby shower so that morning i get up um and then i um i get on the treadmill um. Normally, what i would do like going into fight week or just getting to myself in the mall again a treadmill, keep the weight off and then um my management team. They text me that uh um, the guy, my opponent, pulled out um an opponent pulled out and then um, you know they’re gon na there. He said in the doctor’s door or whatever. So i’m like kind of bummed and i’m like i’m like halfway in the run itself so like like. I would i was so i didn’t know what to think, because i didn’t want to jump off the treadmill, because you know there’s possibility of a replacement, and you know they’re floating that idea around. So i i finish it off, but i’m just like man this seriously like i this is this is this is basically fight week, um yeah, it’s basically fight weekend. All the hard work is put in. So you know i just kind of i don’t know. I didn’t know how to feel, because i i still might have a fight. You know that’s just how the game is so we i go. I go um to i go to this baby shower and i’m like. That’S all i’m thinking about not even eating. I mean i have my meal, i’m not even eating all the good local food there and i just um just like i keep thinking about it. I’M trying to like it races out of my mind and it comes back like i have an opponent whatever and then um. So they said, they’ll tell me like sunday night saturday morning, if they’re still gon na fly me out or whatever and then um and then so sunday night, i think sunday night or they keep trying to um find guys. They don’t find guys on sunday night yeah like shoot man i want to eat. You know i mean it’s getting close um, but i still want to fight and then they finally call it sunday night that um they’re going to call it off or they’re just not going to fly me out there. You know waste the time um too much time to or let not enough time to fly me out there and then get somebody or they fly me out and not get somebody so uh whatever we stay home and then that day that i think the whole event Weighs in and then saturday morning i mean for whatever fight day they canceled the whole event and the texas athletic mission canceled the whole event, so i’m like yeah, it was not meant to be wasn’t meant to be. My opponent was just helping me not go and waste time, so it’s. It was very unfortunate too, because you had some momentum going into that fight. I mean you picked up back-to-back wins for bella, bellator um. I guess first things. First, what was it like competing in hawaii for an organization like bellator and secondly, why didn’t you choose to continue fighting with bellator, and why did you end up with fury yeah, so um i’ve been around a lot of promotions from a young age and um. You know icons, sport, super brawl, um, where else um rumble on the rock and then uh i’ve been told. I uh yeah just been to a lot of um young ufc events like ufc, my uncle ron fought ufc’s or like one ufc, um ufc, like i think 47 or when around nikita vitor belfort uh yeah, the pfl, so i mean being around it, seeing it um Uh, you know the bellator wasn’t i mean it wasn’t anything too familiar, and i expect to be there for myself. So i mean, of course i love the whole experience and whatnot um, but um it wasn’t that bad. I kind of expect. I i those are the kind of expectations i have for myself just to be in those big time moments or you know, big-time moments being big-time money so and yeah. So i mean it was definitely a uh, an experience itself just to be at home. From my my first two bellator fights and i loved him, my family was with me and just the whole experience was, was awesome, um and then yeah. Your second question was that uh, why did i? Why did i um? Why did i choose fury fc um? I think i we what happened is i did um. I didn’t sign long term with um bellator, just because of i think, right after the first bellator i had i had um, i had shoulder surgery and then i had um eye surgery. I had um prk done and then so it was kind of like it was kind of up in the air. At that time, my man, my manager, ryan butler, he kept um. You know he he. He floated the idea to me and he was trying to push it to reach through. I did, but then i had a. I immediately had to get surgery, so it kind of didn’t happen and uh, and then i was out the whole year um until the next bellator in hawaii thought that bellator hawaii um came out healthy and uh. I don’t know we just it. Did this this at this time too? It just it just didn’t end up happening and then um fury, fc uh. My management came to me with a fury, fc opportunity. Um with you know, i i’ve seen a lot of um, good talent or yeah. Several guys um come out of there go to the efc and um or contender series, so i thought i thought it was a good idea um to take to take that the fight that they were offering me at the time. So the the contender series was just announced that it’s gon na start back up in august. Is that something that you’ve considered? Obviously training hasn’t been ideal, like you mentioned, but uh? Is that turn around too soon for you if the opportunity were to arise? No, not at all i mean shoot. I i all i do is train full time and um i would love. I would love for anything to come up. I mean any last-minute opportunity, any any any fight, so i mean this. Is you know this is how i make my money, so i would like to. I would like to take any opportunity that comes, and i mean i’d love for a contender series too, so uh something i’ve been looking looking forward to it’s been on my rate like it’s been, it’s been a goal of mine, one of my goals, um for the Past couple years now, um, i just had a couple setbacks with surgeries and um stuff like that. So when you think about hawaii and then mma, there’s two big names that come to mind bjpen and max holloway, but for a long time it really was simply um. Bj penn and then brad tavares. What do you think it’ll take before you see like a big influx of hawaiian mma into the ufc and maybe even enough to bring the ufc to hawaii um? Actually, i think the influx of hawaii fighters in the ufc are is kind of starting out. Right now i mean um yeah. You got max brad um yeah, like louis smoke, martin day uh, the anti-mederos as well. Yes, yes, um um yeah! So you have. You have a few, you have a handful already in um and i think i think it did. I think now – everybody’s just kind of um realized or not, maybe realizing but um. You know um hawaii father’s been kind of seizing the opportunity that that’s been in front of them um. I think i think you just need the perfect matchup for a guy like max right now to come to hawaii, and you know like something like connor versus max or some something of that magnitude for for it to come to hawaii. I i guess i think i think that’s what it would be just just based off of what i what the rumors that floated around and why the last um you know what the other rumors on, why it didn’t happen. Yet you know so i think it needs to be like more of us, like i mean yeah, i think the next event that comes here if it’s ufc or i mean the next big event being the ufc as if because bellator already came, it would just have To be like a big spectacle, you know, along with the event itself, but like has to like the magnitude of like two countries, or something like that. Just has to you know, has to has to pop yeah. I mean guys like max: holloway are very passionate about being hawaiian, and so with you find most guys from hawaii are very passionate, hawaiians, a lot of them fight out of hawaii, even though they have the opportunity to go, compete somewhere else. What got you into the sport and what was it guys like bj, penn and and i guess what is their legacy on the island islands? I guess um my fam a lot of my family or some of my family members were already participating in this sport, like like around 1995 um um, my dad um. He raised ray’s dad ray and my uncle david paul. They were the first two guys um to kind of start um. You know the first two like pioneers of you, know the you know this sport in hawaii stuff as hawaiians um yeah. I don’t know if you know raquel paolo, but that’s that’s her dad um yeah. So they were they’re all one team and um, so i was around this from a very like very young age. I i’ve seen like the stuff that i’ve seen the events and stuff, so i just i i i always just wanted to. I always just wanted to you know, do do this and, like we have a you know, we have the like the family foundation to do it. The talent in the in like that is so close to me to you, know, for the help to train and stuff. So that’s all that kind of stuff that helped me help um do do the um yeah. It was an easy choice for me, so big, big, hawaiian name max holloway is fighting um fighting for his title again. Obviously, that’s big for hawaii, as he’s the first since bj penn hawaiian champion. What’S your prediction for that fight? Do you think it’s going to go similar to the first? Do you think max holloway gets his title back. I mean i seen the first fight and if it goes that way, i i thought max won that first fight, i don’t i don’t know i maybe have to watch it again. So i i thought that um, i thought max won the first fight um. So i mean i guess if it goes away the same way i mean i, i think he would win again but um. I think i’d have to rewatch it and see like how he lost. I know he. He took some leg kicks and stuff like that, but it just didn’t seem like it just didn’t seem like he lost, you know um, it wasn’t. Oh, my god, like um, max lost his title. I mean i guess he lost three to two on the rounds, but it just didn’t feel like you know he lost his his title. You know so um, hello, um max is good at making adjustments, um and yeah. I think i think he’ll he’ll come up with uh he’ll come up with the win um invoke i mean i i’ve seen i’ve seen him fight a bunch of times, but i just feel like i i know max and i trained in max um. I i’ve seen him like throughout his whole career um. So i and one thing i know what he he will do is make adjustments so um, like you know, if, if you ask my person, okay, i think he’ll he’ll make the right adjustments. Just that’s just that’s. Just max all the way, and that main event it’s a it’s a fight between teammates, which is it’s kind of cool, to think that two teammates are just willing to throw down for a belt uh. I love it gilbert burns and uh kamaru uzman. What’S your prediction for that one, that’s actually going to be a good fight. Um, i don’t know. Maybe i’ll um, maybe i’ll go, i think i’ll say gilbert burns. He has the momentum. Stylistically he’s not scared to go to the ground and you know he’s very comfortable standing up um. So i think it’s a perfect matchup for um kamar usman to kind of you know show show the part of him that oh or the complete game, you know he’s kind of like he’s, fought guys where he wanted to fight every time, and i think mart was Going to put him in in situations where i mean gilbert burns will put kamar used me in situations that he might not be or gilbert is more experienced at. You know um, rather than he like. He fought tyron woodley um tomorrow, husband fought tyron woodley and he controlled the clinch. You know he showed that he was. He was a superior wrestler, um or kobe comington. He showed that you know he he kind of he kind of gritted out and had the superior stand up or power um, but i think gilbert burns is comfortable everywhere to where it’s going to be it’s going to be a battle i think he might be put In he would put in danger this time, have you ever thought? I don’t know if he’ll um, i don’t know if he’ll um run through um gilbert burns, i’m not saying gibberish is gon na run through him. I just think, like we’re gon na see like a different, different um different side, um, a more complete game. You know he’s gon na be tested everywhere and i’m not i’m leaning towards deeper burns. Have you ever thought of this? Have you ever thought of a scenario where you may have to fight a teammate um? No, i i never thought about that. Just because i’m not about the thought of hawaii fighters, i mean i would never fight somebody my teammate on a local stage and then the thought of hawaii fires, fight each other in the like on a big stage. Just seems like uh, it’s like still far-fetched, and i i mean this is this? Don’T get me wrong? It’S totally possible just like the two fight two hawaii fighters, like you, know, two guys all the way out in the pacific gon na come from the big stage. Definitely possible, but i just feel like i just never thought about it. No, and i guess uh last question. I guess i guess, for you is what sorts of things have you been doing? Non-Mma related during the pandemic, because a lot of us have been locked inside is there any tv shows any video games. What have you been up to um shoot? I mean i’ve been training twice a day still yet um i mean i guess this. I guess we been, i don’t know, just spending a lot of time, family time um playing outside with the kids taking them to the park um doing whatever we can. Actually, i bought like a bunch of stuff for home to to play like like a basketball who um a bunch of like you, know, outdoor activities for the kids um pretty much what whatever i can do at home. I mean i’ve been staying, it’s hard to, because i mean i got two. I got two girls um and they’re like four and um one years old. So it’s kind of hard to you know be just packing up and going and doing with doing whatever you want right now. So i mean i got a few hikes, but i was like that’s kind of working out, so um yeah, it’s kind of hard with kids. I mean you, don’t want to take them to anywhere, just because you’re, more they’re, more susceptible to um, getting sick so and then at home. I don’t know we try to find movies kid movies again and every now and then watching a adult movie like a more um more like not yeah, not for little kids uh, just just for we went there in bed um but other than that. Nothing, nothing! Really! New, actually so i uh and one last question sorry and then i’ll. Let you go. I interviewed uh tiger a little bit a little while ago, another oh yeah, um and the entire time – and i was talking to him – i was like i got – ta go to hawaii and i’ve been trying to convince a friend of mine to come to hawaii with Me what what is the selling point from someone who grew up in hawaii someone who lives in hawaii? What would you tell him to convince him to come to hawaii with me? Um, i don’t know i i mean. I don’t know your friend that well, but i i don’t know, does he like? I mean over here what i like to do. Um i like to go on hikes and stuff, and a lot of hikes over here has to have waterfalls. You know so. At the end of the hike you can, you can enjoy, enjoy a waterfall go for a swim. You can just do everything you can um you go to the beach there’s good food. There’S a little bit. I don’t know the local food here is, is pretty good to me. Sushi here is good, so i don’t know if you like sushi but um uh. I i don’t know i just like the the island, lifestyle and and not everything is like um. I guess we are landlocked, but but you can go to the beach, you can go to the mountain in the same day. You know what i mean um, i don’t know just lifestyle yeah, let’s, let’s do it so yeah, that’s. What i hear is is the hawaiian lifestyle is something that you can’t get anywhere else and being yeah. Obviously, the beach sounds amazing yeah and then it’s um right at your convenience. You know, you know you can go there. Um i mean i didn’t i’m i’m i’m on oahu um you can. It doesn’t, take you an hour to get to the beach like the nearest beach. It would never take you like an hour to get to the nearest beach from you um. Just i mean if you an hour, would take me to like a beach across the island. You know what i mean by like 15, 20 minutes or even 10 minutes i can get to the beach. So it’s it’s that quick and it’s the same same goals for like uh to go on on a hike like your nearest hike would be so close. So i mean your far heights are going to be lo, i mean you’re for the longer. If you want to go across the island, of course, it’s going to take you longer to get there by the time like conveniency, of like going going through those type of things it’s like within, like under an hour’s hour span, either way. Well, it’s funny because i’m in canada, which is the biggest country second biggest country in the world, so it’s it’s so awesome to hear like you can just in an hour you’re on the other side of the island. For me, that’s baffling because in an hour i’m pretty much not in the same city yeah, but i mean that’s yeah and we don’t we’re not on the biggest island but we’re on the most populated island so um. I don’t know that. That’S what i mean like lifestyle you know like. I could do the same two things the same like mountain and sea in the same day and um along the way, get good food and yeah. Do it all again, tomorrow, all right man? I can work out every day without a shirt i mean i am you know like. I don’t have to worry about extreme weather um, it might rain, but not nothing crazy. So all right man, what a great way to end it on talking about uh hawaii and how beautiful it is. Um thanks for taking the time man, i really appreciate it, and hopefully we get to see you out there and maybe even dana white contender series uh a big win there and – and you could be right there, knocking at a spot uh on in the ufc yeah. I’M hoping so i’m staying ready. You know i’m training twice a day. Just because i’m i’m telling myself, i have a fight lined up just still knowing yet so that’s the mindset i’m going to get all right. Man, all the best stay safe, keep washing your hands! Don’T get sick and hopefully we see you uh see you fighting soon. Thank you same to you all right. I’Ve had all the best

Sergio Pineiro

Sergio Pineiro is the Founder of FighterPath.com and host of the Quarantinecast podcast. Based in Canada he is both a sports journalist and MMA enthusiast. He practices the sport but has a passion for the individual stories of training, fighting and living the fighting lifestyle.

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