“President Trump recognized that one of the small ways to instill a sense of normalcy in people’s lives was to bring back entertainment options,” Dana White bellowed tonight of the Republican National Convention.
“The President went above and beyond to help all sports leagues involved figure out a way to overcome the challenges of staging live professional sporting events in the middle of a pandemic,” the UFC boss added not long before the ex-Celebrity Apprentice host is set to deliver his 2020 RNC acceptance speech from the White House.
“And you know what, we did it. The UFC were the first to do it and we continue to do it. Now other sports have joined us.” In one of a series of comments that were lampooned on cable news later on, the MMA promoter neglected to note that the UFC tapped out its initial efforts to get back in business this spring.
Despite his pumping up of Trump’s reaction to the coronavirus, which has claimed over 180,000 American lives so far, White left out that it took the UFC a couple of false starts before they held their a pay-per-view event on ESPN in May. An event that saw a fighter and two staffers test positive for COVID-19.
Of course in his latest vociferous endorsement of all things Trump and lament of the “ton of negativity in 2020,” White also neglected to mention in his pre-taped remarks that teams in the NBA, the WNBA, MLB and the NHL are actually not playing in or out of their coronavirus bubble tonight. The sports strike was kicked off yesterday by the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to take the court for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in response to the near fatal shooting of Jacob Blake by police and more killings in Kenosha, WI.
Still, in what was essentially a rerun of his speech at the 2016 Republican Convention, the UFC president leapt back into the electoral octagon for Trump and his “unique attributes” on Thursday. “I have said it before, and I will say it again, he is one of the most loyal human beings I have ever met,” White declared this evening. “The man was unstoppable energy, no one, I mean no one is going to outwork this guy,” the high volume mixed martial arts league frontman went on to say.
Praising Trump’s economic record and occasionally pausing to catch his breath, White gave his pal a pass in insisting that “no one person, and no one place could have anticipated the challenges that COVID would bring.” White also seemed to be offer Trump a mat smacking backhand compliant when he asserted that only coronavirus knocked trump out of the winner’s circle. “We weren’t facing the lawless destruction that now is occurring in a few of our great cities,” White noted Like Trump, White seemingly failed to see the sad irony of the fact that such so-called lawless destruction” is happening under Trump’s watch.
Not quite big enough to warrant a spot in the coveted 10 PM ET hour when the broadcast networks coverage begins, White took a slap down on cable news when his speech was finished.
Over on MSNBC, Rachel Maddow and other hosts on the Comcast-owned net were openly laughing at White’s somewhat self-interested remarks on the COVID-19 crisis and law and order in America. “We just got a new wheel barrow of stuff that we want to get a reality check on” a giggling Maddow added before talking to an actual doctor on White’s health crisis proclamations.
BTW – Beside the Venn diagram of their respective fan bases and POTUS showing up at a UFC match last year at NYC’s MSG, Trump and White truly do go way way back.
Long before Trump’s one-time agent Ari Emanuel and Endeavor acquired the UFC for $4 billion in 2016, the developer opened up his struggling Atlantic City casinos to White and his fighters when they could barely get a venue anywhere in America. “Not only did he have us out there for the first one, he came to the second show too, then when we left the Taj Mahal and we went to the Meadowlands, he even showed up to the event at the Meadowlands,” White told Hill.TV today of the relationship that began in the early 2000s.
And that’s the real business of why Dana White showed up for Donald Trump tonight, even as most sports have gone dark and on strike against systemic racism.