UFC veteran Chael Sonnen revealed that NBA star Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq) was close to competing in a cage.
Chael Sonnen is undoubtedly the most famous non-champion of all time. The 45-year-old is a wrestling phenom and he consistently entertains fans with exceptional trash talk. Recently, Sonnen revealed an eyebrow raising story of how NBA star Shaquille O’Neal was in talks to compete in a jiu-jitsu match.
Shaq showed an interest in having an MMA bout. The NBA Hall of Famer is an MMA fan and was spotted at several UFC events. He has also hung out with Alexander Volkanovski and Francis Ngannou. Shaq and UFC president Dana White also reportedly shared a healthy relationship.
“Din Thomas was training Shaquille O’Neal and Shaq wanted to do a match.” Sonnen explained.
At that point, UFC president Dana White was not interested in making the match up until there is a worthy opponent. Then, Sonnen suggested Georges St-Pierre to go against the 7 feet tall basketball player.
“But, what about if it was Georges St-Pierre? We could take the competitive aspect right out of it, so now, it is just for fun.” Sonnen said.
Now, Sonnen got White’s attention. Meanwhile ESPN was always interested in Shaq and planned to announce the match up.
“We’ll break into SportsCenter tonight to announce a Shaquille O’Neal vs St-Pierre, if you can get it signed.” ESPN guys said.
Shaq is not new to martial arts. He was among the first celebrities to show interest in training mixed martial arts in 2000. The 50-year-old American practiced boxing, muay thai, jiu jitsu and wrestling. Unfortunately, the match up failed to materialize.