UFC President Dana White appeared on the broadcast of the United States Republican National Convention Thursday, endorsing the re-election of current President Donald Trump in the upcoming Fall election.
White’s speech saw him argue Trump’s importance due to the current political climate and his handling of COVID-19, a virus which has recorded 5.79 million cases and 178,000 deaths in the country.
“I believe we need President Trump’s leadership now more than ever,” said White, who delivered his speech from his office in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
“Before the pandemic … We weren’t facing the lawless destruction that now is occurring in a few of our great cities,” said White, referencing protests against police brutality which have broken out across the country following the killings and injuries of Black Americans by police.
The appearance came amid a midweek near full halt of events in the sports world, protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA on Sunday. The protests were also in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement – a movement Trump has described before as a “symbol of hate.”
White also addressed people’s calls to defund police, something neither democrat nor conservative candidates have called for leading up to the election.
“Come on America, defunding these vital positions is not the answer,” mentioned White.
White endorsed Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. He recalled being part of a task force formed by the President that focused on bringing sports back.
“Trump recognized that one of the small ways to instill a sense of normalcy in people’s lives was to bring back entertainment options,” said White, talking about why the task force was formed.
The UFC was one of the first sports organizations to return following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their first event back, UFC 249, took place on May 9th from the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
White has endorsed Trump before, as he also appeared at the 2016 Republican Convention, using the appearance to refer to Trump as a “friend” and someone who “has great business instincts.”
Trump has worked with the UFC before, letting the MMA promotion hold two events in 2001 at the Trump Taj Mahal (now known as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino) in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.
Trump attended UFC 244 last November, a pay-per-view event that took place at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, USA.