Former President of the United States, Donald Trump, appeared at UFC 290 in Las Vegas to customary loud applause and cheers by the UFC crowd. His latest appearance at the UFC is the latest chapter in the love story between Trump and the UFC.

Dana White’s love for Donald Trump is well known. However, few people know that Donald Trump’s history with the UFC precedes even Dana White and the Fertitta brothers’ takeover of the promotion in 2001.

Donald Trump and his history with the UFC


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Before UFC 290, Donald Trump was last seen at UFC 287 back in April ‘23. He even attended UFC events when he was the President and has hosted UFC events at his properties. However, his association with the UFC goes way back.

In the first decade of its existence, the UFC was a fledgling sport bereft of respectability and considered “human cock-fighting” in the words of former Presidential candidate and Arizona Senator John McCain.

In 2001, the UFC was confined to hosting untelevised events in civic centers, a far cry from the likes of the Madison Square Garden and T-Mobile Arena. It was a sport fighting for its survival. Although it had a small but loyal following it was far from the mainstream.

In fact, MMA was banned in many states. And it was at this time that Donald Trump welcomed the UFC with open arms and hosted an event at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, which hosted UFC 30 – the last event hosted by SEG, the UFCs previous owners, and UFC 30 and 31 in 2001 after the UFC was sold to Zuffa – owned by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta and their friend Dana White.

Read More – ‘Gangster’ Donald Trump’s Entry at UFC 244 Recalled by Dana White: “They Didn’t Want Him Sitting”

“Arenas around the world refused to host our events. Nobody took us seriously. Nobody. Except Donald Trump…He hosted our first two events at his venue,” Dana White said in 2016.

And that is a large part of the reason that Dana White has an undying loyalty to Donald Trump. 

“Donald championed the UFC before it was popular, before it grew into a successful business, and I will always be so grateful to him for standing with us in those early days” Dana added.

However, Trump also backed ‘Affliction’, the failed UFC competitor, in 2008. But all that seems to be water under the bridge. Dana was all praises for Trump at the UFC 290 press conference. 

The fighters love Trump: Dana White

“I don’t know how crazy this guy (Trump) is. He’s driving here, he got here at like, I want to say (he) got here (at) like 5:40. He watched the earlier fights on his phone, you know what I mean.” Dana told reporters after the UFC 290 press conference.

And according to Dana, the feeling is mutual. “It’s like he loves the fights and uh what’s really cool…the fighters all love him too so he had a blast tonight.” he said.

And many fighters have publicly expressed their admiration for Trump. At UFC 287, former BMF belt-holder Jorge Masvidal said, “I also just want to say the greatest president in the history of the world is sitting right there,” pointing at Trump after his loss to Gilbert Burns.


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Colby Covington wished Trump on his birthday earlier this year and called him the “Greatest president in the history of the world”:


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While Trump may be a polarizing figure in US politics, worshipped by his supporters and detested by his detractors, Dana White and the UFC are firmly in Trump’s corner because of the faith and trust Trump had shown the UFC when it was struggling. Do you think Trump’s association with the UFC hurts or helps it? Tell us in the comments below.

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