Celebrities flock to Donald Trump!” may seem like a headline from yesteryears, but this was the scene at UFC 290 in Las Vegas. The 45th President received a thunderous reception, and, in a twist, it wasn’t only the fight fans cheering. Hollywood faces, notable figures, and sports personalities bypassed the prevailing narrative of the corporate media to rub shoulders with Trump. The message was clear: in the world of combat sports, Donald Trump still packs a punch. But why would they risk the inevitable backlash? Let’s delve into this knockout night.
When the former President strode into the T-Mobile Arena, the crowd roared their approval. The cheer was not just for Trump; it was also for his sidekick of the night, UFC President Dana White. As they basked in the adoration, it seemed as if the UFC had never ceased its support for Trump, even when other sports retreated.
MMA has always been a rebel sport, one that proudly flaunts its independence from mainstream narrative. In Trump, they saw a man who embodied the same spirit. With his historic support for fighting sports, it was no surprise that he was at the center of this star-studded event.
Actors, sports personalities, and even public proponents who have openly supported Trump were in attendance. Academy Award winner Mel Gibson was spotted in deep conversation with Trump, and longtime ally Roger Stone. This cordial meeting was not an isolated event – Gibson has been known to salute Trump publicly before.
Hollywood A-lister Mark Wahlberg, who worked alongside Gibson for the film “Father Stu,” was also present. The famously fit actor took a moment to lean into Trump’s ear, share a few words, and then retreated with a brief, but respectful handshake.
Joe Rogan, the famed podcaster, stepped away from his ringside duties to exchange pleasantries and a warm handshake with Trump. This interaction fueled speculation that Trump may soon make an appearance on “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
Even contenders in the night’s bouts found moments to greet Trump. Dricus Du Plessis, who faced off against Robert Whitaker, even stepped out of the ring to acknowledge Trump and White.
In a standout moment from UFC 290, Juliana Pena, known in the ring as the “Venezuelan Vixen,” managed to share a memorable interaction with former President Donald Trump. Pena, an impressive force in women’s mixed martial arts, couldn’t suppress her wide smile as she posed for a photo with the 45th President. This encounter, captured for posterity and shared on her Instagram, represented more than a photo op. It was an indication that Trump’s influence and charisma continue to extend across diverse realms, even attracting UFC champions like Pena, who chose to celebrate her triumphant night with this surprising brush with political celebrity.
Yet, not all interactions with Trump were met with approval. Guy Fieri, the Food Network star, faced criticism for speaking with Trump. Critics expressed disappointment, as Fieri dared to break the mainstream narrative and shared a laugh with the former president. In contrast, the support Trump received at the event suggests that these critiques might be limited to an echo chamber that is losing resonance.
Trump was not a stranger to this crowd. He had been a guest at UFC 244 and 264, as well as UFC 287 where he rubbed shoulders with the likes of Mike Tyson and Kid Rock.
His ongoing relationship with the UFC, facilitated by Dana White, was on full display at UFC 290.
The nature of Trump’s relationship with White is one of genuine mutual respect and admiration. White, recalling his 2020 RNC speech for Trump, described their relationship as one where Trump had been “a very good friend” since they met. White praised Trump for recognizing the potential of the UFC, offering them a chance to host events at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, despite the sport’s negative stigma at the time.
That sort of faith and support is rare, and it built a bridge between Trump and the UFC community that continues to thrive. This bond was on display at UFC 290, with a variety of celebrities showing their support for Trump. The event showed that the Trump brand remains strong, and those who are part of the rebel sport of MMA are not afraid to associate with it.
UFC 290 was more than a sporting event; it was a statement. In an era where mainstream media narratives often influence public perception, the A-listers, sports figures, and public proponents at this event chose to think independently. In Donald Trump, they saw a friend of their beloved sport, and they embraced him warmly. This display of solidarity indicates that Trump’s influence remains strong in some circles. It’s a telling tale of loyalty and respect. A tale that can give the former president a reason to say, as one MMA fan put it, “Dana White walks in with Donald Trump and this place popped big.