NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal plans to make a serious investment in Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
The former Los Angeles Lakers star was ringside for BKFC’s ‘KnuckleMania’ event last Friday, which saw former UFC star Paige VanZant make her promotional bow.
Shaq is a big fan of the promotion, so much so he intends to make a sizeable donation to it.
During BKFC’s first event of the year, the four-time NBA Champion said: “These are the greatest, toughest athletes in the world.
“The fact that they’re not using gloves makes them the toughest athletes in the world. I think this is the future of fighting.”
According to BKFC founder Dave Feldman, O’Neal’s deal with the promotion is all but finalised.
He said: “Now we’ve got one of the most sought-after sports figures in the entire world.
“Who doesn’t know Shaq? And now he’s going to be part of this company and it’s going to make a lot for people want to be part of the company.”
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O’Neal made his presence at KnuckleMania know by climbing into the ring and presenting the bantamweight title to Dat Nguyen after the penultimate fight of the evening.
He said: “It was a great event. Because they don’t want to use the gloves, they’re fighting like a fight should be had.”
KnuckleMania has headlined by a women’s featherweight bout between VanZant and Britain Hart.
VanZant, 26, suffered a shock loss to the professional boxer, who gave the former UFC strawweight a rude welcome to the sport courtesy of a unanimous decision victory.
Defeat to Hart was VanZant’s fourth in her last five fights, but the former Dancing with the Stars contestant has no intention of calling time on her days as a professional fighter.
She wrote on Instagram: “The greatest test of courage on Earth is to bear our defeat without losing heart.
“Last night I told my husband I didn’t want to fight any more but as soon as the words left my lips I knew that wasn’t true.
“I’m a fighter. This is what I live for. Losers quit when they fail, winners fail until they succeed. That fight last night was a good learning experience for me.
“The timing and distance took a little bit to figure out but I felt my last round was my best round and I’m going to build off of that!
“I’m thankful to fight for the best team in the world and we are going to go back and fix our mistakes.
“Thank you to Britain for competing last night and congrats on victory! I’m also confident we will cross paths again.”