Dana White reflects on Donald Trump attending UFC 244
MMA was once widely despised and even banned in many parts of the United States. On Saturday night, US President Donald Trump attended UFC 244, and at the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White expressed his thanks.
“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,” said White, as transcribed by Simon Samano and Ken Hathaway for MMAjunkie. 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.’”
“We had dinner last Thursday at the White House, and he said ‘I’m coming. I’m coming to New York’. And I was like ‘Oh my God! That’s going to be a rough one! Why don’t we do Vegas on the 14th? And New York was the only one that he could do, so he came tonight.”
“Everything that ever happened to me in my career, Trump was the first guy to pick up the phone and reach out to me. 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.”
Trump was cheered by many fans, and also loudly booed.
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“Whoever you are, this is America,” said White. “You can believe or do whatever you want. If you want to boo, you can boo. As an American, you can do whatever you want to do, and you can choose whatever side you want to be on. So I just felt like tonight we were going to walk in and whatever happened, happened. The guy told me as a friend he was coming to see the fights, and he did tonight, and I appreciate him, and it was a big night for the sport.”
“I’ve walked out of that tunnel for the last 20 years, I’ve never f***ing seen anything like that in my life like tonight when I walked out of that tunnel with him. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. It was crazy.”
“Tonight wasn’t about how you feel politically about the president. We weren’t legal in New York because of some political s*** a few years ago. Tonight, the President of the United States was here, watching a UFC event.
“They wanted him in a suite, of course; he doesn’t listen to them. He does what he wants to do. 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. 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.”
And the President is a Jorge Masvidal fan…