Several athletes have crossed over to mixed martial arts over the past several years, with varying degrees of success. Former baseball slugger Jose Canseco embarrassed himself in Japan last year. Football legend Herschel Walker acquitted himself quite well in winning a Strikeforce match earlier this year, and veteran boxer James Toney will fight Randy Couture in the UFC this summer.
But will we quite literal see the biggest MMA crossover of them all any time soon?
UFC president Dana White told "The Dan Patrick Show" that of all the celebrities who have become MMA fans, NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal is the one who wants in the cage the most.
"Shaq's been terrorizing me for years [to fight in the UFC]. He's been training for years," White said. When Patrick asked if White would face him, Dana quickly said, "Hell no! I'm not facing him."
The 38-year-old O'Neal, who was attending live UFC events long before MMA became cool, spends his offseasons in Florida training mixed martial arts. Last spring, he called out UFC Hall-of-Famer Chuck Liddell to face him in a bout.
But despite O'Neal's obvious size advantage, White is confident that his best-known star Liddell would have no problem taking care of O'Neal. White does give the edge to O'Neal if he were to face football player/Olympian/fighter Walker, who had his first fight earlier this year.
However, White did throw O'Neal a bone. You won't see him in the actual Octagon, but O'Neal is a hidden, unlockable character in the latest version of the UFC video game, UFC Undisputed. Press the right codes, and you can see O'Neal face Liddell.
- Dana White
- Chuck Liddell
- mixed martial arts