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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White has been acquiring additional talent from the merger of Strikeforce and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and has now set his sights on another talent pool for which he can pillage and plunder.
The National Basketball Association (NBA).
And who better to join the ranks of the Zuffa elite than Shaquille O'Neal, the recently-retired center who spent 19 seasons as one of the league's most dominant big men.
While "Diesel" isn't going to be lighting up the cage with his patented "Shaq Fu," the former hoop star is expected to "get involved" with the UFC in some capacity.
White elaborates to ESPN's First Take (via 5th Round):
"Actually, a week before he retired, Shaq called me and [said] 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.’ He’s not just coming in [at the last-minute], he’s been a part of it for a long time. 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."
But will UFC fans be happy to have him?
It's hard to imagine any scenario where O'Neal's presence is detrimental to a sport that is still struggling for mainstream acceptance. If anything, having Shaq on the front lines could further the UFC's stranglehold on the coveted male demographics of 18-34 and 18-49.
So let's hear it Maniacs, if you were in White's position, how would you use Shaq to help better the UFC?
If at all?