45th U.S. President Donald Trump will be in attendance at UFC 264 in Las Vegas. Trump headlines a robust list of stars who will be in attendance, a list that includes Dave Chappelle, Mel Gibson, Kevin Durant, Justin Bieber and many others.
In November, 2019, Trump became the first sitting President to attend a UFC event when he attended UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden. Jorge Masvidal, who fought in the main event that night against Nate Diaz, said he was honored to fight in front of a sitting president. Masvidal would later become an avid supporter of the president, appearing at multiple Trump rallies in 2020.
The former president will be sitting Octagon side, directly behind Dana White.
Trump has long been a big fight fan. He hosted many prominent events, such as Tyson-Spinks, at his Atlantic City casino. More recently, Trump could be seen in the front row of 2015’s Mayweather-Pacquiao bout.
Trump also has a long history with the UFC and its president, Dana White. “We’ve been friends for over 20 years,” White recently told TMZ.
This relationship goes back to the early days of MMA’s mainstream success. After facing mounting political pressure, the UFC was saddled with financial hardships. Politicians from both parties, including Senator John McCain, opposed the sanctioning of MMA competitions. In 1996, McCain called the sport “human cockfighting.”
By the time the UFC was acquired by Zuffa LLC in 2001, the company was immensely strained. They weren’t sure if they would be able to get into a lucrative fight market like New Jersey or Nevada at a crucial time. It was at this point that Trump offered to host UFC 30 at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City.
UFC 30: Battle on the Boardwalk was a massive turning point for the UFC. The event was praised for its production value, which far exceeded what had been done before. From there, the UFC was able to stabilize and become the force it is now over the next two decades.
Trump and supreme UFC superstar Conor McGregor, who will be headlining the event, have exchanged compliments in the past.
“Phenomenal President,” McGregor wrote in a tweet. “Quite possibly the USA Goat (greatest of all time). Most certainly one of them anyway, as he sits atop the shoulders of many amazing giants that came before him.”
Trump responded with a quote tweet. “Congratulations on your big UFC win!”