Shaquille O’Neal’s Next Financial Investment Is In a Sports League You Probably Never Heard Of

Making millions of dollars is one of the beauties that come with being a sports star. Some players blow the millions they spend, ending up broke. Other athletes save or invest their money, looking for ways to build their wealth during and after their professional careers. Shaquille O’Neal is one of the athletes who invest their money.

Known for his days dominating the NBA, Shaq is also dominating the business world. He has stakes and investments in several companies. The Big Diesel is making another business move, investing in a sports league that is brutal, bloody, and one many haven’t heard of (probably).

Shaquille O’Neal has a bunch of investments and business ventures

While in the NBA, Shaquille O’Neal brought in close to $300 million during his career. That money he has invested in numerous companies, increasing his net worth.

Shaq has a current net worth of $400 million, according to Celebrity Net Worth. Making $100 million post-NBA through investments and business ventures is quite remarkable. 

How has Shaq been able to make $100 million after his NBA career? He’s made investments in both Apple and Google, profiting from the two companies’ rivalry. Krispy Kreme Donuts is another business he has put his money into.

Perhaps the company he’s involved with the most is Papa John’s. He is part of their board of directors and their brand ambassador, helping the company rebound after their CEO’s racist comments.

The business ventures don’t stop there for O’Neal. He owns his own restaurant called “Shaquille’s,” located in California. The Big Aristotle also owns 12 chains of the Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop and owned 155 Five Guys franchises at one point. He owns numerous Papa John’s franchises. Not to mention he owns roughly 150 car washes and 40 24-hour fitness centers, per Essentially Sports.

The key to Shaquille O’Neal’s financial success post-basketball is investing in things that change others’ lives. He learned that from billionaire and former CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. It was those words from Bezos that helped Shaq almost quadruple his net worth, according to him. 

“I heard Jeff Bezos say one time [that] he makes his investments based on if it’s going to change people’s lives, and once I started doing that strategy, I think I probably quadrupled what I’m worth,” said O’Neal per Wall Street Journal.

Shaq is planning to invest in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship

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Being a former athlete, Shaquille O’Neal had to get his investments in the sports realm also. He has plans to invest in another sporting league that is more brutal than the NBA. Shaq is planning to invest in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship league, according to USA Today

The news comes after Shaq was present at the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship on Feb. 5. During his time there, he was active, entering the ring to present the bantamweight championship belt to the winner of the match, Dat Nguyen.

He was introduced to the fighting league by a friend and attended his first BKFC match back in December of 2020. After seeing that match, he saw this league as the future of fighting.

“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…because they don’t want to use the gloves, they’re fighting like a fight should be had, said O’Neal per USA Today.

Shaq’s gotten into scuffles in his career, but nothing like these fighters in the BKFC are dealing with. With Shaquille O’Neal’s name attached to this league, it will likely get more attention and potentially more followers. So what is the BKFC, and what makes it such an exciting sports league that Shaq wants to invest his own money in it?

What is the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship?

For those who have never heard of the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship, it’s a relatively new league. It was founded in 2018 by Dave Feldman. It is the “first promotion allowed to hold a legal, sanctioned, and regulated bare-knuckle event in the United States since 1889,” according to the league website. What makes this league unique from other “bare-knuckle” leagues is that they truly mean bare knuckles.

Per their website, fighters are not allowed to wrap their hands to within one-inch of their knuckles. They emphasize immediate and intense action, having scratch lines. Fighters begin every round on their scratch line, inches away from each other. This is inspired by the 19th century Broughton Rules that governed bare-knuckle fighting.

Their patented “Squared Circle” ring is where all fights happen, creating a safe but fast-paced fighting experience. Despite the brutal nature of the league, safety is the top priority. The BKFC allows fighters who have substantial professional experience in boxing, MMA, kickboxing, or Muay Thai to compete. Feldman is excited that Shaquille O’Neal plans to invest in his league, believing it will attract more fans and potential investors.

“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,’’ said Feldman.