Former President Donald Trump has left the swamp for the red light district of sports.
FITE TV announced that Trump and his son Don, Jr. provide alternate commentary for this weekend’s Triller Fight Club event. The spectacle features former heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield vs. former UFC Champion Vitor Belfort.
— FITE (@FiteTV) September 7, 2021
“I love great fighters and great fights,” Trump said in a release issued by FITE. “I look forward to seeing both this Saturday night and sharing my thoughts ringside. You won’t want to miss this special event.”
Subsequently, the event is now billed as “No Holds Barred’.’ FITE underscored that Trump would “give an unfiltered boxing commentary.” Considering his track record of speaking his mind, the feed will be as politically incorrect as possible.
However, the move is strategic for Triller and FITE TV as the event is at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The Sunshine State is a Trump stronghold politically, and his Republican ally Governor Ron DeSantis was the first to allow combat sports to restart during the COVID-19 crisis.
The UFC spearheaded that event in Jacksonville, Florida, the first with indoor 100 percent fan capacity; UFC 261.
Donald Trump is not new to the fight business. The former casino owner hosted many historic boxing matches at his now-defunct Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
However, Trump’s roots within combat sports are even more profound.
The Fight Game Gamble
In 2001, mixed martial arts was considered a brutal sport famously labeled human cockfighting by then-Senator John McCain. Most significant media markets were not receptive to the sport forcing the UFC to stage untelevised cards in third-tier civic centers.
Contrarily, Trump broke ranks with the widespread consensus welcoming the UFC to the Taj Mahal. Trump hosted UFC 30 and UFC 31. The upgraded prestige worked as their next event was held at Continental Airlines Arena, setting the set for the promotion’s dominance.
UFC President White repaid the gesture with an endorsement of Trump at the July 2016 Republican National Convention:
“Arenas around the world refused to host our events,” said White. “Nobody took us seriously. Nobody. Except (for) Donald Trump. Donald was the first guy that recognized the potential that we saw in the UFC; and encouraged us to build our business. Hosted our first two events at his venue, dealt with us personally. He got in the trenches with us, and he made a deal that worked for everyone.
“On top of that, he showed up for the fight on Saturday night and sat in the front row! Donald championed the UFC before it was popular, before it grew into a successful business, and I will always be so grateful to him for standing with us in those early days, so tonight I stand with Donald Trump.”
In addition, Trump was a one-time partner in the now-defunct Affliction MMA promotion. Then proxy Michael Cohen, former special counsel, Trump licensed his name and likeness to the organization.
With Evander Holyfield’s age, 58, already being controversial for the event, Donald Trump adds another layer of oddity.