Former President Donald Trump made his first appearance at a sporting event on Saturday since leaving office, but you would have hardly known it while watching UFC 264.
Trump was one of many celebrities in attendance at T-Mobile Arena last weekend. Unlike names such as Baker Mayfield, Dave Chappelle and Justin Bieber, he wasn't shown on the ESPN pay-per-view broadcast of the event.
UFC president Dana White confirmed to TMZ on Thursday that wasn't the plan. Rather, White painted the promotion's omission of Trump — whom White has openly supported in the past and has done business with for years — as an egregious mistake.
Warning: The following video contains some coarse language.
“So what happened was we were getting ready to show him right between the co-main and main events. I think you remember that we showed [Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.]. We showed OBJ, then it was supposed to go to David Spade, 2 Chainz and then the president. We had some kinda glitch in the truck, and then the Conor fight ended up ending in the second round so we never got a chance.
"Let me tell you what, massive f*** up by my production team, but ya know, it’s live TV and these things happen.”
So basically, three things caused the UFC to miss out on showing Trump at its event. First was the promotion saving Trump's appearance until the end of UFC 264, second was the truck glitch and third was the shocking ending of the main event.
The long awaited trilogy between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier lasted all of one round. Poirier had dominated for much of the bout, laying into McGregor on the ground after an unsuccessful guillotine attempt, but things went sideways once they were both on their feet again. McGregor broke his leg as he shifted backward, ending the fight as a TKO via doctor stoppage.
In addition to costing McGregor a much-needed win and chance at the UFC lightweight title, that ending also cost the UFC a chance at a second go-around with Trump. When asked if ESPN might have pushed to not show Trump, White scoffed at the idea of not showing any former president in his house:
"Nobody tells me how to run that show and I would never do that. Listen, politics aside, when a former president shows up, whether it was Obama, whether it was Trump, whether it was Jimmy Carter, I don't care who shows up, we would respect a former president of the United States."
Trump's UFC 264 entrance was still noticed by those around him, as he garnered a loud reaction as he entered T-Mobile Arena. White painted the reception as "overwhelmingly positive," though some jeers can definitely be heard in video of the entrance:
Beyond Trump's omission and the tired ugliness of McGregor, it seemed to be a decent night for White. He told TMZ the event racked up 1.8 million pay-per-view buys — second most in UFC history behind McGregor-Nurmagomedov and garnered nearly $18 million at the gate.
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