Trump Attends UFC Fight Night in First Public Appearance Since Conviction

The former president met with deafening cheers at the event where two fighters, Kevin Holland and Sean Strickland, jumped out of the octagon to shake his hand.

Kevin Holland, winner of the popular Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), skipped the traditional victory lap around the ring Saturday night to instead climb over the barrier of the “cage” to shake the hand of surprise guest former President Donald Trump.

The move came on Saturday night at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, at what would be the 45th president’s first appearance since his unprecedented felony criminal convictions on Thursday.

Videos of President Trump’s appearance at the much-anticipated sports event quickly went viral on X. As seen and heard in the video, excitement built as UFC announcers told the sold-out crowd that the president was making his way into the area with UFC President and CEO Dana White.

Mr. White, who has been a known supporter and friend of Trump for more than 20 years, is also a long-time Republican. In 2020, he was a speaker at the 2020 National Republican Convention.

As Mr. White and President Trump made their way into the stadium, they received a standing ovation from a majority of the more than 16,000 people in the stadium.

Dressed in his signature blue suit and red tie, President Trump shakes hands with and waves to the fans closest to him.

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“Boy. The round of applause he’s getting right now is pretty staggering,” said one of the commentators, former UFC fighter and podcast host Joe Rogan. President Trump then shakes his hand and says something inaudible to him, after which Mr. Rogan says, “Thank you, sir.”

Playing in the background was “American Bad Ass” by pro-Trump rocker Kid Rock at the mixed martial arts middleweight championship match.

President Trump used a clip from his UFC appearance to kick off his debut on TikTok, which he tried to ban in the United States when he was president. In less than 10 hours, he garnered more than 2.4 million followers on the Chinese-owned platform.

President Biden joined the platform in February. His account shows that he has amassed 337,700 followers since joining.

Other videos from President Trump’s UFC appearance have also drawn significant attention.

After being declared the winner by submitting his opponent, Michal Oleksiejczuk, in a first-round “arm bar,” Mr. Holland leaped to his feet and climbed out of the cage to shake the hand of President Trump, who was seated ringside.

The support for the former president continued into the next fight of the night.

In an interview after a split-decision tie with Paulo Costa, UFC veteran fighter Sean Strickland shouted out, “President Trump, you’re the man, bro—it’s a damn travesty what they are doing to you.”
Mr. Strickland also pledged to donate to his MAGA campaign. He also left the octagon after his victory to welcome President Trump and take a selfie with the former president.

President Trump has appeared at a number of UFC events.

A video of President Trump at a UFC event in 2021 drew headlines after it showed Hollywood star Mel Gibson saluting the former president as he walked through the crowd.
NFL star Aaron Rodgers was among those in the audience this past Saturday when President Trump showed up. The New York Jets quarterback was criticized when video surfaced on social media showing he remained seated and did not acknowledge the president as he passed by.

Mr. Rodgers, however, later posted that he had met up with the president, shook his hand, and said that “the moment was priceless.”

Janice Hisle contributed to this article.

Original News Source Link – Epoch Times

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