While reports had already been out for roughly a week, WWE officially confirmed via the Tampa Bay Times on Monday that current WWE star Titus O'Neil will receive the Warrior Award at the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Induction ceremony. O'Neil, real name Thaddeus Bullard, is a native of Tampa, Florida and is being recognized for his philanthropic work in his community.
"Everybody knows that I'm someone who just wants to do the work," O'Neil told the outlet. "I don't care who I need to work with, as long as the work is done, as long as people's lives are changed, that environments have been made better — whether it be a school environment or health environment, whatever it may be. I'm about change, real transformational change, not transactional change."
The award was first introduced in 2015 and is given to "an individual who has exhibited unwavering strength and perserverance and who lives life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit" of WWE Hall of Famer The Ultimate Warrior. Previous winners include Connor "The Crusher" Michalek, Joan Lunden, Eric LeGrand, Jarrius "JJ" Robertson and Sui Aitchison.
"Titus is a dedicated father, humanitarian and WWE Global Ambassador. His unwavering passion to help others in need is simply unmatched," Stephanie McMahon told the Times. "Although he does not seek recognition, I am thrilled that his work will be spotlighted to WWE fans around the world."
O'Neil's work includes the founding of the Bullard Family Foundation, partnering with the Metropolitan Ministries for its Stable Families Project and Feeding Tampa Bay's FreshForce program.
"I'm in a position to kind of connect folks that already are either joining the work or want to do more," O'Neil said. "Some people don't want to donate to large organizations because they don't know where the money is going. With our foundation, they don't have any question where the money's going, I don't have any overhead.
He later added — "This first is so much bigger because it means that I impacted a lot of people's lives, both inside our locker room, our company, but most importantly outside with our fans and our supporters and our partners. This award is right up there with being nominated with the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award from ESPN. This has been one of those awards that really is about character. It's about leaders. It's about people that see you as a great human being."