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UFC 247 Will Honor Kobe Bryant

Gettyimages | Rey Del Rio
By Adreon Patterson

UFC President Dana White announced on Friday that the upcoming bout UFC 247 will honor deceased NBA legend Kobe Bryant as part of the match.

The UFC tribute is just the latest to be announced since the NBA legend and his daughter Gianna along with six other passengers and the helicopter pilot.

Bryant's legacy - both on and off the court - will be recognized by the organization given his close association to the mixed martial arts company and White himself.

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Gettyimages | Zhe Ji

White was being interviewed by TMZ when he was asked if the upcoming bout had any plans to honor the NBA legend since Bryant was an investor into the UFC.

Without skipping a beat, White told the staff at TMZ, “This is the first fight since [the accident] happened, and yes, we’re going to do something for Kobe.”

Given the business and personal relationship between White and Bryant, the tribute to the late basketball icon should not come as a surprise.

Gettyimages | Jeff Bottari

Along with Bryant being an investor in the UFC, the UFC president mentioned that the NBA icon was an investor in UFC sponsor sports drink company BODYARMOR.

White stated, “You look at Kobe, the basketball player, right? And then the guy won an Oscar. And all the other things that this guy has accomplished in his life. Well, also, he was one of the big investors in BODYARMOR, the company that’s a sponsor of the UFC. He was also an investor in the UFC.”

Gettyimages | Jeff Bottari

White reminisced about a conversation he had with Bryant shortly before his death.

He recalled, “The UFC killed it last year. When I say 2019 was our best year, [compared to] other years, 2019 is through the roof; it was massive. So, the owners got a distribution, and Kobe got a distribution from the UFC the Wednesday before the incident."

He added, "And he was so pumped up and so excited. And he said whatever everybody always says: ‘I wish I invested more.'”

“He was a great dude. He was a part of this company," the UFC president stated about the basketball superstar. "Kobe Bryant was a good guy in every way that you could possibly be a good guy.”

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On Saturday, UFC 247 will be held at the Toyota Center in Houston with the main event featuring light heavyweight champion and number one ranked Jon Jones as he defends his belt against number four ranked Dominick Reyes. The secondary fight will be between UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko and number one contender Katlyn Chookagian.

The main event starts at 10 pm EST as an ESPN+ pay-per-view exclusive while early events will be air on ESPN and ESPN+ starting at 5:30 pm.

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