Former Temple fullback spoils Royce White’s MMA debut
During the Sam Hinkie “Trust the Process” era, the Royce White experiment was a blip in the constant roster turnover. In July 2013, Hinkie traded “future draft considerations” for White, a mid-first-round pick by Houston on the second year of his rookie contract.
In October of that year, the Sixers cut the Iowa-State product just before the season began. White averaged 5.0 points, 4.4 rebounds while shooting 39% from the field (9/23) during the preseason. One of the things I respect most about Royce White is his advocacy for mental health. He was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Syndrome and has spoken against the NBA’s handling of their player’s mental health.
Now to the fight. At 30-years old, the 6-8 heavyweight transformed himself into an MMA fighter with his professional debut Friday Night. Royce, “The New Attraction,” White faced off against 25-year old Daiqwon Buckley in LFA 120 (League Fight Alliance).
Buckley also has ties to Philadelphia. Hailing from Dunmore, PA, Daiqwon played fullback at Temple University in 2015. A 5-10, 263-pound fighter, the walking wrecking ball made his pro debut last night as well after going 1-1 in his amateur career. Previously in 2016, Daiqwon lost a split decision contest in his first amateur fight and won by submission in a bout back in 2017.
Two inexperienced fighters with chips on their shoulders entered the Octagon Friday Night for three, five-minute rounds in a heavyweight bout. The apparent height disparity had me theorizing that Buckley would ground-and-pound White into submission at some point. And thankfully,
I found a stream online the monthly cost for the UFC Fight Pass is only $9.99 because that’s basically what happened, but without the submission.
Royce White came in as a -220 favorite, with the former Temple fullback and Baltimore police officer as a +180 underdog. Buckley kept his distance from the lengthy striker at the beginning of the fight, but like a Great White shark stalking its prey, Daiqwon slowly pushed White to the corners of the cage and issued five total takedowns throughout the contest.
One of the more impressive aspects of Royce White’s debut was his ability to get out of those submissions. Buckley is a big boy with a 10-pound weight advantage over White, who utilized the cage to his advantage in escaping some dangerous ground-and-pound action.
At some point, Royce needed to let his hands fly and use that reach to his advantage. But, Buckley was very disciplined with his distance and chose the right opportunities to take the 6-foot-8 giant down to the ground.
In the end, the former Temple fullback came out victorious in an unanimous decision. I started this article to continue following Royce White’s MMA career, which I still want to do. However, Daiqwon Buckley stole my heart last night. He said this was the best shape he’s ever been in and won the fight after a four-year absence.
I will still be covering Royce White’s future endeavors, but Daiqwon Buckley has quickly become one of my favorite MMA fighters after last night’s performance.
Mandatory Credit: MMA Junkie