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“I Gave Them Venues”- 2 Decades After Helping Dana White Donald Trump Makes a Shocking Revelation About UFC’s Earlier Days

Published 07/24/2023, 1:01 PM EDT

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The UFC hasn’t always been the successful promotion that it is today. The promotion started in 1993 and attracted a niche crowd. The promotion was owned by multiple people during that time and Dana White was a manager to former fighters Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell. In 2001, White took the helm and there was no looking back since.

During the early days of the UFC, the promotion didn’t have the popularity that it does today and naturally, lacked the support of fans, investors, and promoters. However, luckily for Dana White, a very influential person decided to help out Dana White back in 2001 and it was none other than the former US President, Donald Trump.

How UFC ‘Trumped’ other promotions – Former US President Donald Trump helps UFC President Dana White

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In a recent interview with Matt Serra for the official YouTube channel of the UFC, Donald Trump opened up on helping Dana White in 2001.

Matt Serra, who is a UFC legend, started talking about his first UFC match back in 2001, which was held in Atlantic City. He asked Trump how he got the knowledge of the UFC and decided to help out since it wasn’t popular back in the day.

via Getty

So… somehow I got to know Dana and uh… a whole group of people that were into it and really liking it and I respected them and I respected Dana – a lot. And you know that family’s a great family that helped Dana out, okay? We don’t have to mention names but that family is fantastic and they’ve been with me right from the beginning.“, said Trump, recalling how he met the UFC President. Sources suggest that the family that Trump was talking about could have been Lorenzo Fertitta and his older brother Frank Fertitta III. 

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Talking about the struggle of finding a venue that the UFC had to go through in the early days, Trump continued by saying, “They couldn’t get a venue because of the danger. You know, people thought it was so dangerous and happened to be right about that. But they couldn’t get a venue and I supplied them with a venue and I think it was for a few of the fights – maybe even five, early fights.

Apparently, the world was not ready to promote UFC since it was a ‘dangerous’ sport. The former US President was the only one who helped out. “A lot of the athletic commissions wouldn’t do it and owners wouldn’t do it. And they couldn’t get venues and I gave them venues, early on.“, summarized Trump.

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Donald Trump was seen attending UFC 290 where he posed for pictures and mingled with fighters like Gordon Ryan, Sean O’Malley, and more. The fighters were criticized by many for posing with Trump but the UFC President has always stood by him.

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Written by:

Arghyadeep Ghosh

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Arghyadeep is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. His love for combat sports dates back to the WWF. Being a 90’s kid, he grew up fascinated by showmanship, competitive fighting, and wrestling.
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Edited by:

Anuj Jacob