Former Houston Rockets prospect and Sacramento Kings power forward Royce White is preparing to make his debut in mixed martial arts.
White was drafted 16th overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2012 NBA draft. He never ended up playing for the Rockets and was later traded to the Philadelphia 76ers, where he was waived. He ended up signing with the Sacramento Kings and played three times for them in the 2013-14 NBA season, but that was the last time we saw him in the NBA.
The 6’8″ White ended up playing more ball for smaller leagues including the Canadian Basketball League, but in 2019 he announced he was making the transition to MMA. It’s been a year since he made his initial announcement and it appears that the 29-year-old Minnesota native is finally ready to take the dip into the steel cage.
Speaking to Sports Illustrated, Royce said that he hopes to compete in MMA by the end of 2020. The reason he left basketball for MMA is because he loves the competition.
“As a basketball player, I watched the deterioration of the competitive ethos, the erosion of the value of competition. The entertainment and the dollars (subsumed) competition on so many levels. Mixed martial arts, it’s not ‘just business.’ It’s entertaining but not entertainment. It’s the highest level of competition. And the purest,” White said.
White is training at the Minnesota Martial Arts Academy under the tutelage of head coach Greg Nelson, the home of former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. White has even trained with former UFC heavyweight Pat Barry.
White mentioned in the article that UFC president Dana White knows who he is, but hasn’t committed to signing him. But we know the UFC bossman loves athletic heavyweights (i.e. Greg Hardy) and if White can win a few fights on the regional scene perhaps White would sign him to fight on the Contender Series.
“We’ll see what happens when he takes a big shot. That’s when you learn a lot about someone and you learn a lot about yourself,” Coach Nelson said of the former NBA prospect.
How do you think Royce White will do in MMA?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/14/2020.