News released by 5thround.com indicates that the Hall of Fame basketball player and recently retired "Shamrock" from the Boston Celtics, Shaquille O'Neal, will be involved with the UFC in some capacity in the immediate future.
O'Neal, a larger-than-life icon who has established himself as a brand through his many dominant years on the basketball court as well as his charismatic sound bytes off the court, contacted UFC president Dana White offering his assistance in achieving global dominance for the UFC.
“Shaq loves (mixed martial arts), Shaq’s been training for a long time,” White said on Friday’s edition of ESPN’s FirstTake.
“Actually, a week before he retired, Shaq called me, and he wants to be involved in the UFC somehow. He’s always been a good friend to us, and I’m sure you’re going to see Shaq around the UFC a lot," White stated.
White also went on to state that O'Neal was involved in the launching of the first The Ultimate Fighter reality show that is currently in production of its 14th season on Spike TV.
While a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaquille stated that he would like to fight Japanese big-man Hong Man Choi once he retires. The likelihood of that matchup is slim. However, O'Neal's passion for ultimate fighting remains intact.
"Listen, I’m gonna have a lot of free time on my hands. I love this sport, I want to get involved. I want to be a part of it,” O'Neal indicated.
With nearly four million Twitter followers, a larger-than-life reputation amongst the greatest athletes in the world and one the most noticeable faces in Hollywood, Shaquille O'Neal possesses the global appeal and marketability to enhance any brand, even the strong-suited UFC.
Keep an eye out for the "Big Aristotle" in Vancouver this weekend at UFC 131 exchanging hand shakes and smiles with Dana White and the ownership of the UFC.
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