MANILA, Philippines – The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) paid a touching tribute to Muhammad Ali, who passed away on Saturday, June 4 (Manila time) after spending two days at a hospital near his home in Phoenix, Arizona.
The Las Vegas-based promotion honored Ali’s contributions to the sporting scene with a heart-rending video that was aired during the broadcast of the UFC 199 pay-per-view event on Sunday, June 5.
“Muhammad Ali was more than a fighter. Yes, there was the gold medal, the 3 heavyweight world championships, the Rumble in the Jungle, and the Thrilla in Manila. But more importantly, he epitomized what is right. Not just in sports, but in the human spirit,” UFC announcer Mike Goldberg narrated in the tribute video.
With the passing of the 3-time boxing heavyweight champion, much of the talk about his legacy surrounds his influences inside the squared-circle.
However, Ali’s legacy extends beyond the boundaries of boxing as his influence bled into the field of MMA.
Many UFC fighters paid their respects to Ali, including ex-UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who offered a heartfelt speech via Instagram shortly after it was confirmed that Ali had died.
“Only a few minutes away from Muhammad Ali’s passing, I’ll never forget this historic moment,” Jones said. “Muhammad Ali has been a huge inspiration to me, not only in my personal life but in my fighting career. He taught me the importance of self-belief. No matter what people said, no matter what the situation was, he showed me that it’s OK to just believe in yourself.”
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