Shaq Retires: How Long Before His UFC Debut?

Darren WongSenior Analyst IJune 2, 2011

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 19:  Shaquille O'Neal of the Boston Celtics attends NBA All-Star Saturday night presented by State Farm at Staples Center on February 19, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Noel Vasquez/Getty Images)
Noel Vasquez/Getty Images

With news that Shaquille O'Neal has announced his retirement on the social media tool Tout, there are many questions being asked, and much to discuss.

Where does Shaq fit into the pantheon of basketball greats?

Why did Shaq have to announce his retirement right before the NBA Finals?

Why are some sites saying Shaq tweeted his retirement while others are saying he retired via Tout?

What the heck is Tout?

All these questions and more will get their fair share of play over the next few days.

As an only casual basketball fan, my concern is more toward the future: When is Shaq going to fight in the UFC?

Shaq has long been a UFC fan, and friend of UFC president Dana White.

More than just a fan, Shaq has been training striking and grappling for years and has in the past joked about fighting the likes of Chuck Liddell, Hong Man Choi and even recent UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

He's even an unlockable character in the video game UFC: Undisputed.

Although O'Neil is retiring from basketball at least partially due to lingering injuries, it seems likely to me that Shaq takes at least one MMA fight.

The most likely candidate for O'Neal would be Korean kickboxer Hong Man Choi, a 7'2" giant best known for beating up a sad looking Jose Canseco and getting arm-barred by Fedor Emelianenko.

While a fight between Shaq and Choi would be nothing more than a freak show, it's hard to ignore the appeal of it being a HUGE freak show.

Although Dana White has said that he doesn't like putting on freak show matches, James Toney's fight against Randy Couture should tell us otherwise.

It seems to me like only a matter of time before Dana White and Shaquille O'Neal have a meeting to schedule The Diesel's UFC debut.