At Bare Knuckle FC’s KnuckleMania event in Tampa on Friday night, phrases were being thrown around calling it “the biggest bare knuckle extravaganza of all time.” That might now be more than hyperbole, at least when it comes to the long-term future of the company.
The event made such an impression on NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal that he is planning to invest in BKFC according to USA Today. O’Neal was on hand in the ring after KnuckleMania’s bantamweight title fight to present the championship to Dat Nguyen.
“These are the greatest, toughest athletes in the world,’’ O’Neal said at KnucleMania. “The fact that they’re not using gloves makes them the toughest athletes in the world. I think this is the future of fighting.’’
O’Neal attended his first BKFC event in December. His future involvement was later confirmed by BKFC President David Feldman.
“Now we’ve got one of the most sought-after sports figures in the entire world,’’ Feldman said. “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.’’
Shaq is no stranger to the worlds of combat sports and pro wrestling. The four-time NBA champion has also been in a minor storyline role with Cody Rhodes on AEW Dynamite as of late. He has a history with the WWE, having taken part in a battle royal at WrestleMania in 2016. He’s also had some fun with the UFC.
O’Neal will be involved in a mixed tag-team match against Rhodes on the March 3 episode of AEW Dynamite on TNT. He appeared on the most recent episode of Dynamite in a pre-taped segment to promote the showdown.
“Cody Rhodes, you little punk,” O’Neal said. “You want to battle? You just name the time and date. I’ll be there. You little punk, with your blonde hair. You look like a little girl. You want some of the Shaq Attack, Name the place. Matter of fact, let’s do it in March. How about that?”
AEW Dynamite airs on Wednesday nights at 8pm ET on TNT for U.S. viewers.