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Former President Donald Trump was in attendance at UFC 264 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.
He arrived through the fighters tunnel to watch the main event between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. As he walked to his seat, the packed crowd at T-Mobile Arena erupted in cheers and chants of “U-S-A,” as the chant drowned out a smattering of boos.
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) July 11, 2021
According to the New York Post, Trump was seated near the octagon, where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was located.
Before the fight, UFC President Dana White told TMZ that Trump would be placed by the octagon for the main event, even though the risk of hearing boos from the crowd was high.
“He don’t care,” White said of Trump. “He’s not that guy. He’s not hiding in a box somewhere.”
“He and I have been friends for over 20 years,” White said, according to Sporting News. “And he’s a huge fight fan, not just UFC. He’s a fight fan. He likes fighting like I like fighting.”
Trump was the first sitting president to attend a UFC event when he attended a fight at the Madison Square Garden for UFC 244 in 2019, per USA Today.
Trump’s arrival at T-Mobile Arena certainly caught the attention of those in attendance, but it wasn’t seen by those watching at home. ESPN had the broadcasting rights to the fight and refused to air the footage of Trump entering the arena.
Sources tell me when President Trump made his way to cageside the crowd erupted and ESPN didn’t show it because of the massive ovation he received… pathetic mainstream media censorship…
— Matt Couch (@RealMattCouch) July 11, 2021
As Jason Whitlock of The Blaze put it:
ESPN ignored the whole thing. They never mentioned that the former president was in the building. The Worldwide Leader followed the guidelines prescribed by Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. America’s social media apps disappeared the 45th president. Like an obedient soldier, ESPN did, too.
This is wild. Trump’s appearance was news. White’s very public embrace of Trump is fascinating and newsworthy. It’s not surprising. White is a longtime Trump supporter. But White and the UFC’s stance is completely different from Roger Goodell and the NFL, Adam Silver and the NBA, Rob Manfred and Major League Baseball.
The UFC — and White — go about their business much differently than other sports leagues. While the NBA, NFL and MLB have all made moves in order to appeal to the Left, the UFC has gone in the opposite direction. They don’t care what side of the political aisle you’re on. In fact, White has no intention of telling his athletes how they should think.
“It’s what we do, whether all this craziness is going on or not, that’s how we run our show,” White told The Daily Wire when asked how the UFC has managed to stay out of politics. “The other thing is, we don’t put a muzzle on anyone. We don’t tell people what they can and cannot talk about. Imagine working for a company and they’re telling you to believe this.”
“And the other thing we don’t do, we don’t tell you who to vote for. We don’t tell you what to believe in, we don’t tell you what religion, we don’t tell you any of that s**t. You’re all grown men and women with your own ideas, your own beliefs, and good for you.”
The crowd at UFC 264 showed the world that there are still many who appreciate Trump, even if ESPN refuses to show it.