UFC president Dana White says that he is voting for Donald Trump for U.S. president.
White explained his reasoning for supporting the controversial billionaire businessman and ex-Celebrity Apprentice host in an interview with TMZ.
This Trump endorsement comes as White’s organization is tonight running UFC 194 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, headlined by the featherweight main event bout between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor.
According to the UFC boss, Trump backed the mixed martial arts organization when White was struggling to get the business off the ground, as it were. He is now returning the favor.
“When we first bought this business, it was banned in most states. It wasn’t supported by the athletic commissions, and no arenas wanted this thing. Donald Trump is the first one to have us come out of the Trump Taj Mahal. Not only did we host the events there, but he showed up and supported the events. You will never hear me say a negative thing about Donald Trump…Me and Donald are cool… Donald will get my vote.”
Dana White subsequently told Yahoo! Sports that he’s not at all political and doesn’t support all of Trump’s polices or all of the positions any other presidential candidate for that matter. He has a special bond with Donald Trump, however. “I’m a loyal person, man, and people who have been good to me in my life, I don’t forget and I stand by them,” he added.
Former bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey is not a Trump fan, having endorsed Bernie Sanders.
Trump thanked White for his support on his Twitter feed and also noted that he was buying the pay-per-view telecast of UFC 194 tonight.
Separately, Melissa Rivers, the executive producer of Fashion Police, expressed support, sort of, for Donald Trump in another TMZ encounter against the backdrop of the GOP front-runner’s latest proposal to temporarily halt Muslim immigration to the U.S. That idea has been almost uniformly condemned across the political and entertainment spectrum.
The Rivers family is close to Donald Trump, and both Melissa and her late mother, iconic comedian Joan Rivers, also appeared as contestants on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Joan Rivers won the competition in its eighth season in 2009.
Melissa’s comments carefully avoided expressing an opinion on any particular issue but praised him for bringing a lot of voters and potential voters to the boardroom.
“Whether you agree with Donald or not agree with Donald, he starts conversations. The man has gotten more people engaged in the political process and current events and what’s going on in this world than anyone else has in a long time… He is a successful man for a reason, and just like anybody else you can like their opinions or not like their opinions, but he’s actually created a dialogue and gotten people engaged, and that’s what democracy is…”
In addition to UFC, Donald Trump has also been closely associated with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). In the aftermath of Trump’s Muslim ban proposal, a pro wrestling fan has launched a petition drive to remove Trump from the WWE Hall of Fame.
Getting the support of @DanaWhite of UFC means a lot. A total winner, who has done an amazing job. Just ordered his fight to watch tonight!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 12, 2015
Although no one has cast an actual vote yet, Donald Trump continues to remain in first place with Republican primary voters in individuals states and nationally according to most polling data, although U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has now taken over the lead in Iowa, based on a new Bloomberg Politics/DesMoines Register survey. The Iowa Caucus is February 1, followed by the New Hampshire Primary on February 9.
Are you surprised that Donald Trump has UFC boss Dana White’s vote for president in election 2016?
[Photo by Jeff Chiu/AP]