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7 Feb, 2020 18:24

'He was so pumped up': Dana White reveals Kobe Bryant received payout as part of massive windfall for UFC investors

'He was so pumped up': Dana White reveals Kobe Bryant received payout as part of massive windfall for UFC investors

UFC President Dana White has confirmed plans to honor Kobe Bryant at UFC 247 this weekend and revealed that the basketball great received a return on his investment in the UFC just days before his tragic death last month.

Bryant was an avid UFC follower who described how he would attend fights “incognito” during a press conference alongside White in 2017, when the pair announced a deal between the championship and Body Armor, the energy drinks company that Bryant co-owned.

The partnership resulted in a windfall for Bryant just four days before his death in a helicopter crash, White said in a preview of Sunday’s UFC 247.

A year after Bryant became involved, White estimated the UFC was worth at least $7 billion, followed up by revenue last year of at least $800 million.

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White called 2019 “our year” and “through the roof” in comparison to previous years, telling TMZ: “It was massive, so the owners got a distribution, and Kobe got a distribution from the UFC the Wednesday before [his death].

“He was so pumped up and excited and he said what everybody always says: 'I wish I had 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. We’re going to do something for Kobe.”

Looking ahead to the main event on the Houston card, White talked up Dominick Reyes’s chances of producing a significant upset against light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

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“This kid is young, he’s got fast hands, he’s got knockout power in both hands, great kicks and he believes he’s a better athlete than Jon Jones.

“More importantly, I’ve never seen a guy so mentally strong going in while facing Jon Jones. The problem with this fight is that not enough people know how real and how dangerous Reyes is.

“You might not know him now. If he beats Jon Jones, everyone will know who he is on Sunday.”