UFC star and diehard Penrith fan Tai Tuivasa does a shoey with the Panthers in the sheds in wild celebrations after the side’s dominant grand final victory
- UFC heavyweight star Tai Tuivasa does a shoey with Panthers after the side’s win
- The diehard Panthers fan was cheered on by the team as he skolled a beer
- Tuivasa grew up in western Sydney and played junior football with the club
Australian UFC heavyweight Tai Tuivasa loves nothing more than doing a celebratory shoey after a win in the Octagon, but a close second is doing one with the Penrith Panthers after tasting NRL premiership glory.
There were wild scenes inside the Penrith dressing rooms on Sunday night after they became just the second club in the NRL era to win back to back titles.
Music blared, champagne flowed and beers were emptied after thrashing Parramatta 28-12 at Sydney’s Accor Stadium.
Tai Tuivasa does a shoey with the Panthers after their premiership victory over the Parramatta Eels on Sunday evening. The UFC star has been a diehard supporter of the club since playing in the Panther’s junior ranks
In a video clip appearing on Instagram, Tuivasa can be seen in the sheds with the Panthers squad skolling a beer out of somebody’s footy boot to the cheers of those around him.
The western Sydney local is more than just one of the club’s biggest fans – Tuivasa used to be a junior representative for the club and was tipped to be a future NRL star until he decided to become professional fighter.
‘Bam Bam’ admits his temper on the paddock wasn’t suited to the game of rugby league.
‘I was known for getting sent off. Heaps of times,’ he said.
‘I’ve got a mouth on me too and I was trying to fight guys.
‘I was an aggressive player. Trying to hurt in tackles and running hard. If someone wanted to fight, I was the first person in.’
Leaving the sport didn’t end the UFC star’s association with rugby league, however.
Tuivasa still keeps in close contact with many of the current players and he makes sure he watches all their games wherever he is in the world.
Tuivasa (pictured doing a shoey) has carved out a profile as one of the most popular stars in the UFC in recent years
He also feels a closeness with the people of Western Sydney and tries help out the community whenever he gets the chance.
‘I’m so happy to see us winning. Not just the team, but the west, standing up and showing where we’re from,’ he told Sportingnews.com after the 2020 season.
‘Now look, the younger boys are standing up and carrying a whole team for a year. They repped where they’re from and it makes me very proud.’