Former President Donald Trump was met with a mixture of boos and chants of “U-S-A” as he entered the arena to attend an Ultimate Fighting Championship fight between mixed martial artists Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier on Saturday night.
As can be heard in various videos posted on social media, the crowd in attendance at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, cheered on the former president as he made his way to his seat through the fighter tunnel alongside UFC President Dana White. Some boos could also be heard, though they were not as prominent as the cheers of approval.
“UFC crowd goes nuts when Trump enters the stadium with Dana White,” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted while sharing a video from the crowd. “These fans and most of the fighters just get it.”
The UFC’s relationship with Donald Trump dates back to 2001, shortly after ZUFFA purchased the promotion. At the time, the UFC was still striving for legitimacy and had been relegated to small venues in states like Mississippi. Trump allowed the organization to put on UFC 30 and UFC 31 at his casino, the former of which became the first state-sanctioned UFC event held in New Jersey, while the latter was the first UFC event held under the new Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, a framework of rules agreed up by various athletic commissions. Trump’s decision to do business with the UFC seemingly helped the sport establish legitimacy. By late 2001, the UFC began hosting events in Las Vegas, which would eventually become the promotion’s home base.
The UFC president spoke at the 2016 and 2020 Republican National Convention, campaigned for Trump in his native Las Vegas, defended Trump’s controversial policies on UFC programming, produced a propaganda documentary titled “Combatant-in-Chief,” and hosted the former president at UFC events in the past.
Speaking to the media following Saturday’s night UFC showcase, White revealed that he met with Trump earlier that night, adding that having the former president in attendance was simply “two friends, who are fight fans, watching a fight.” He also scoffed at the suggestion that Trump would be affected by the possibility of the crowd jeering at him during the event.
“[Trump will be] sitting right behind me. Right behind me,” White told TMZ Sports. “Hey, guys, he don’t care. He’s not that guy. He’s not hiding in a box somewhere. That’s not his style.
Trump closed out his weekend of appearances by delivering the headlining speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on Sunday. During his speech, the former president continued to make false claims about the result of the 2020 presidential election. Fox News, which aired the speech live, added a disclaimer providing some context to the comments Trump was making.
“Voting system companies have denied the various allegations made by President Trump and his counsel regarding the 2020 election,” the disclaimer read.