Trump Enjoys UFC. His Campaign Expects Viral Videos of His Appearances Will Defeat Opponents


After Donald Trump went to the annual Palmetto Bowl in South Carolina, a video of the crowd screaming “We want Trump!” as he arrived at Williams-Brice Stadium went viral on conservative social media.

The same thing happened two weeks ago when the GOP front-runner went to a UFC event in New York. He greeted the crowd by fist-bumping and waving like he was one of the fighters as he walked into Madison Square Garden, accompanied by Kid Rock, Dana White, the president of the UFC, and Tucker Carlson, a former Fox News host.

Many of Trump’s Republican primary opponents have spent more time campaigning in early-voting states than Trump has. However, Trump has been busy with his campaign, making appearances at big sports events like Saturday’s UFC fight in Las Vegas.

Videos of his appearances get hundreds of thousands of views every day on social media, mostly on sites that aren’t political, like big sports channels and fan sites. Plus, they’re a lot easier and less expensive to put together than political gatherings.

His staff says this approach puts him in front of potential voters who might not pay much attention to politics or traditional news sources. It’s also part of a larger plan to make Trump more appealing to young people and voters from minority groups, especially Latino and Black men, who the campaign hopes will vote for him in larger numbers after 2020. Especially for UFC, most of the fans are men.

Helps with stress Trump is a real sports fan who went to fights and games before he ran for president and would still go even if he wasn’t running.

Boxing and other fighting sports are very important to him. When Trump went on the “UFC Unfiltered” show in the summer, he talked about his favorite fights from decades ago, going over each one in detail.

During the 1980s, he held famous fights in Atlantic City and became friends with boxing legends like Mike Tyson and promoter Don King. He also became so involved in professional wrestling that he was the star of “Battle of the Billionaires” at WrestleMania 23.

For a while, he owned the New Jersey Generals, a football team that played in the United States Football League, which is a foe of the NFL.

He has developed a special bond with mixed martial arts and its machismo in recent years. The founder of the UFC, White, with whom he is good friends, spoke at the 2016 and 2020 Republican National Conventions and attributes Trump’s rescue of the sport to his hosting of fights while others avoided it because they thought it was too dangerous.

After events, Trump’s campaign crew frequently watches fights late at night on his private jet as he heads back to Palm Beach, Florida, via streaming fights on ESPN+ or DAZN.

Stars in the sport, such as Colby Covington, who is competing against Leon Edwards on Saturday night for the UFC welterweight belt, have also thrown their support behind Trump.

This week, Covington claimed that his request for Trump to lead him out to the octagon was denied by the organizers. If Trump prevails, he might still be given a role.

Covington told reporters on Thursday, “He’s going to wrap that belt around me,” while donning a Trump-signed suit jacket with the former president’s mug image on the back. “There will be a spectacle,”

Of course, sports have a long history in presidential politics. They have been employed by candidates to give off an air of vigor and strength, win over voters, and appear more approachable.

Michael Beschloss, a presidential historian, described how, despite suffering severe injuries during the war, John Kennedy continued to swim, sail, and play touch football, while Theodore Roosevelt was often photographed boxing, hiking, and riding horses.

In an attempt to win over working-class voters, Richard Nixon “went to great lengths” to highlight his love of baseball and football. Meanwhile, George W. Bush is well-known for tossing out the ceremonial first pitch of the inaugural World Series game in New York following 9/11 in an attempt to reassure anxious citizens that life would continue.

According to Trump’s campaign, the visits are an attempt to persuade sports fans that he is a person who shares their interests while also showcasing a different side of the aggressive politician—who has been charged four times and is frequently seen on television fuming from behind a rally podium.

They also intend to take advantage of his past celebrity status and connections to influential people in business and entertainment.

According to Trump’s spokesperson Steven Cheung, who was once employed by the UFC, “the audience gets to see him through an unvarnished filter that isn’t tainted by news media and political biases” when the president attends events like Saturday’s bout.

“It offers us a fantastic chance to engage with voters who, to be honest, are turned off by a lot of traditional news sources.”

Politicians “use sports all the time and they’re used to connect with regular people,” according to Jeffrey Montez de Oca, a sociology professor and the founding head of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs Center for Critical Sport Studies. They also “project strength and power.”

Politicians attempt to capitalize on the “powerful emotions” that sports, he claimed, arouse in their supporters and “make you feel like you’re a part of something much larger than yourself.”

It allows Trump to enter that area and take part in the whole atmosphere that exists there. He added, “It then attaches to him as well, the love, the enthusiasm, the feeling of connection with the sport, with the athletes.”

Professor Kyle Kusz of the University of Rhode Island, who specializes in the relationship between sports and the far right, recalled how Trump sided with athletes during the 2016 campaign, citing former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired due to the scandal involving child sex abuse involving his former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, as well as basketball coach Bobby Knight, who was fired for abusive behavior.

He said they were all white guys who were viewed as unfair victims by their ardent supporters.

In 2016, sports figures were among the few celebrities who agreed to support Trump throughout his campaign, as the Hollywood establishment avoided him.

This time, Trump’s appearances are part of a larger initiative by his campaign to interact with non-traditional media platforms, such as podcasts and YouTube series like “UFC Unfiltered,” which have the potential to receive millions of views.

By making these appearances, Trump can attract listeners who might be disenchanted with politics and the conventional media and who prefer to obtain their news from other sources.

By producing their viral moments, they have also attempted to capitalize on the power of social media. His crew quickly saw that footage of Trump engaging with supporters was very popular, and as a result, they frequently plan events where he distributes Blizzards at Dairy Queen or tosses footballs signed by supporters into the throng at an Iowa fraternity.

As both candidates prepare for a highly anticipated general election rematch, the settings have also offered a contrast: first with Florida Gov.

Ron DeSantis, who was formerly thought to be Trump’s main primary opponent who is frequently chastised for appearing clumsy and wooden at public events; and now with President Joe Biden. Except for his launch rally, Biden has mostly avoided holding campaign events.

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