NBA legend Kobe Bryant will be honored at Saturday’s UFC 247 event in Houston.
UFC President Dana White told TMZ that the organization is planning a tribute for the fallen Los Angeles Lakers star, who died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter accident that claimed the lives of nine passengers, including Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
“This is the first fight since it happened and yes, we’re going to do something for Kobe,” White said, though he did not divulge what was in the works for Saturday.
In talking about Bryant, White was effusive in his praise for the world famous athlete who was also a business partner of the UFC’s, investing in the company directly and with Body Armor, one of its sponsors.
According to White, Bryant was excited about his working relationship with the UFC after seeing positive returns last year. Bryant also made a memorable appearance as a speaker at a UFC fighter retreat in Las Vegas back in May 2017.
“You look at Kobe the basketball player. Then the guy won an Oscar. And all the other things that this guy has accomplished in his life – also he was one of the big investors in Body Armor, the company that’s a sponsor of the UFC,” White said. “He was also an investor in the UFC and the UFC killed it last year.”
“I mean 2019, when I say 2019 was our best year—other years, 2019’s 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, and he was so pumped up and so excited and he said what everybody always says, I wish I invested more. He was a great dude, he was a part of this company. Kobe Bryant was a good guy in every way that you can possibly be a good guy.”