Muhammad Ali claimed to have encountered numerous UFOs.
UFO expert and author Timothy Green Beckley had several encounters with the icon up to the early 1990s, because of his passion for the subject of aliens.
Ali even claimed to have seen a massive UFO mothership, that he was watched by ETs and that alien visitations were “of tremendous importance to the whole world.”
In a moving tribute online to the boxer and civil rights activist, Mr Green Beckley used extracts from a book he wrote about celebrities with alien experiences to explore Ali’s thoughts on UFOs.
In his 2015 book Amazing Flying Saucer Experiences of Celebrities, Rock Stars and the Rich and Famous, Mr Green Beckley wrote: “Of all the famous folks I’ve spent time with discussing UFOs and theories about extraterrestrial civilisations and life in outer space, no one seems to know more about the subject – at least from a firsthand point of view – than retired heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.”
Mr Green Beckley had four meetings with Ali when they discussed the topic of aliens.
Writing in the book, he described his first visit to the boxer’s home in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, which he said was “more like a Holiday Inn hotel than somebody’s residence.”
Timothy Green Beckley spent time with the legend talking UFOs.
He wrote: “The ‘knockout’ king had been working out in the park on previous mornings and had made the news by claiming to have seen not one, but two UFOs moving over New York City. Both in the park and later in his home.
Mr Green Beckley quoted Ali saying: “I happened to look up just before dawn, as I often do while running, and there hovering above us was this brilliant light hanging as if by an invisible thread.
“At first I thought it was a beacon projected from a helicopter.
“But moments later a similar object passed in front of us.”
The second UFO reportedly had a glowing red trail behind it.
Timothy Green Beckely with Ali during one of their UFO meetings.
Ali continued in the book: “I brought it to the attention of my trainer, who was standing nearby. We watched them come from behind the skyline and move slowly across the sky for at least 15 minutes.
“The best I can describe the sighting is to say they were just round and big.”
Ali told the author he later found out there were other UFO sightings made that same night, including a report from a pilot about to land at Newark Airport.
Ali reportedly told the author: “This is no joke. All my friends here saw it.”
The chapter told how Ali had seen several UFOs before.
Mr Green Beckley quoted Ali: “Actually, I’ve seen them many times before. I’ve had 16 sightings total to date.”
The author added: “I was prepared to bid [Ali] goodbye, but he waved me over and said he wouldn’t mind talking further.”
The author then wrote that Ali proclaimed that UFOs “had been watching him” for some time.
Ali was quoted in the book saying: “Many times, in the early morning hours, if you look up in the sky you can see them playing tag between the stars, really high up. I’ve had a good number of sightings myself.
“The closest one happened when a cigar-shaped ship hovered briefly over a car I was a passenger in one night driving north on the New Jersey Turnpike. What a sight that was. We could see the shadow made by the UFO as it passed over the pavement of the road in the light of the full moon.”
On a second meeting the author took recorded footage of UFOs to show the champ.
He wrote: “There was never any question in [Ali’s] mind about their being real or not; he’s a stone cold believer.
“At Ali’s request, we ran the film three times while he pointed out the physical characteristics on these video saucers that were similar or identical to the ones he observed in real life.”
And during a third meeting Mr Green Beckley took Israeli psychic Uri Geller to meet Ali at his training camp high in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania at Dear Lake.
Mr Green Beckley wrote: “Ali happily returned to the topic of UFOs, which he seemed genuinely more comfortable with than psychic phenomena.”
At first I thought this flicker was the North Star rising in the heavens. However, within moments, I could tell I was watching something out of the ordinary.
He wrote that Ali said: “Remember how I told you about Elijah Muhammad’s belief in a large mothership circling the Earth? Well, I think this is what I observed recently over my training camp here.”
Prodded into giving additional details, Ali seemed willing to talk about this sighting, which had taken place over a two-night period on a Friday and Saturday during the summer.
He was quoted in the book as saying: “I had been training for three hours in the afternoon, getting ready to do battle with George Foreman.
“After a light supper, I decided to take a stroll around the grounds. Around 9:00pm – it had just gotten dark – I walked up a gravel path that runs along back of our log cabin gym.
“The nighttime sky was as picturesque as one of my poems.”
Sketch of a UFO drawn by Ali of one he said he saw given to the author.
“The sun had been down for only a short while, and so the sky was still quite light.”
From out of nowhere, Ali’s eyes caught a glimpse of a bright glowing orb off in the distance, the book recorded.
Ali continued: “At first I thought this flicker was the North Star rising in the heavens. However, within moments, I could tell I was watching something out of the ordinary.”
The author asked how Ali knew it wasn’t a helicopter or an airplane, but the boxer said the object acted like no conventional aircraft he was familiar with.
He was quoted saying: “First, it would stand still, and then move about, jumping from one portion of the sky to another.
“From time to time, it would speed away, up to the far reaches of the heavens, and then, minutes later, it would come down toward us again. It did this numerous times during the two hours I watched it.
“Before I could blink my eyes, this light had come down toward the mountains until it hovered right above the valley here. I knew I couldn’t be dreaming.
“Sure enough, it was still there. This had to be one of those big ships they talk about! The UFO was streamlined and shaped sort of like a cigar, but blunt on both ends. I couldn’t see any windows or anything, but I’m certain there must have been people onboard.”
Mr Green Beckley seemed to believe the legend’s account.
He wrote of it in his book: “The champ seemed sincere enough. In fact, as usual, he shied away from talking about his experiences unless there was someone around to verify them.
“This time was no exception. Ali says the nocturnal visitor came back to haunt the skies above his mountaintop retreat at the identical hour the next evening.”
His business manager Gene Kilroy was there the second time, Mr Green Beckley wrote.
When Ali met Uri: Geller with legend during one of the UFO meetings.
“I never paid too much attention to Muhammad when he talked about these things. I chalked it up to a vivid imagination. But I know there was something mighty peculiar happening over the camp that night.
“I looked up and saw this thing – this UFO – doing acrobatics up among the stars. The sighting changed my previous opinion concerning UFOs,’ Kilroy conceded.”
The author and Ali had one final formal but brief meeting about UFOs.
Mr Green Beckley quoted Ali saying: “I always speak my mind, since I found out that so many other people have had similar sightings.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in the last few years lecturing to college campuses around the country and I find students are open-minded toward the existence of things like this. I hope others will listen in the future as I’m convinced UFOs are of tremendous importance to the whole world.”