Dana White can rest easy at night knowing that the UFC is President-approved. Donald Trump made an appearance this weekend at UFC 244 in Madison Square Garden, and the UFC kingpin discussed the importance of the visit post-fight
“Tonight wasn’t about how you feel politically about the president,” White said (transcript via MMA Junkie).
“We weren’t legal in New York because of some political sh** a few years ago. Tonight, the President of the United States was here, watching a UFC event.”
While White feels Trump attending a UFC event is a big moment for the organization, he reminds that the current President has always had the UFC’s back — even before his term began.
“Everything that ever happened to me in my career, Trump was the first guy to pick up the phone and reach out to me,” White said. “From getting back on pay-per-view, getting our first TV deal when we did the big FOX deal, the guy always reached out to me.”
Rumours surfaced online that Trump was booed upon arrival. However, White experienced the opposite and said the New York crowd greeted him with a warm reception:
“They wanted him in a suite, of course, (but) he doesn’t listen to them. He does what he wants to do,” White said. “But yeah, they wanted him in a suite. I’m not an expert in security, but I think it’s a lot easier to protect him in a suite than it is in the second row.
“But, again, testament to our fans,” he added. “It’s our President. It’s the President of the United States, man. And tonight I was happy and proud that the crowd here in New York treated him with respect and just made the night so much cooler. Everything was so cool tonight.”
The relationship between the two bosses extends outside of the MMA sphere. Dana White revealed that Trump had even contacted him after winning the election:
“He called me the night that he was elected and told me to get down to the afterparty, and I went, and he wanted to come to the Conor McGregor fight the next night. Obviously he didn’t know what he didn’t know at the time, how crazy it would be. And then he called me the next morning and said: ‘You know what? I’m going to ruin your event. I think it will ruin it. They’ll have to shut everything down, and I don’t think it’s a good idea. Let’s plan this again when there’s more time to plan.’”
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 11/4/2019.