Last Friday, Shaquille O’Neal hosted the most entertaining retirement party professional sports had ever witnessed. Now that Shaq has nothing more to do than tweet, Tout and hang out with Hoopz, ”The Big AARP” would like to assist the UFC in their pursuit of global dominance.
The former Laker previously said he’d be interested in fighting fellow giant Hong Man Choi (or as UFC president Dana White once unforgettably called him “Long Duck Dong”) once his playing days were over. While an Octagon scrap isn’t likely in the cards, a partnership with the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion is possible.
“Shaq loves [MMA], 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.
“He said, ‘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.’”
During his 19 dominant seasons in the NBA, Shaq established himself as one of the world’s biggest superstars – literally and figuratively. With a Rolodex packed full of celebrities, to go along with his nearly 4 million followers on Twitter, White can’t wait to get Shaq Fu in the mix.
“He’s not just coming in [at the last-minute], he’s been a part of it for a long time,” White said of Diesel’s devotion to the sport. “Shaq helped us launch the first season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ He’s always supported us and has always been a good friend.
“So now that he wants to be involved, I’m more than happy to get him.”