Just days after being indicted by a grand jury, Donald Trump made an unexpected appearance at UFC 287 in Miami, Florida.
The former U.S. president surrendered himself at a New York courthouse Tuesday before pleading not guilty to 34 counts of falsifying business records. The charges relate to his alleged role in hush money payments to two women during the 2016 election. It was also the first-ever criminal arraignment of a former U.S. President.
Despite Trump’s ongoing legal issues, the former president was spotted cageside at Saturday’s UFC show, where he was seated next to Kid Rock. Footage also showed the crowd in attendance cheering him on as he walked into the arena.
This isn’t the first time that Trump has attended a UFC event. The former president made an appearance at UFC 244 in 2019, as well as UFC 264 two years later in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he was seated beside UFC President Dana White.
While Trump’s relationship with the UFC and its leading executives dates back more than two decades, it flourished in the build-up to the 2016 presidential elections. Several UFC officials donated to his campaign while White delivered a speech at the Republican National Convention that praised Trump’s business acumen.
White also visited Trump at the White House in 2018 with former interim welterweight champion and rightwing media personality Colby Covington, where they posed for pictures in the Oval Office.
Apart from his relationship with White, Trump also has ties to UFC fighter Jorge Masvidal, who is taking part in the co-main event against Gilbert Burns. Masvidal has previously campaigned for the 45th U.S. president and recently visited him at a rally and at his home in Mar-a-Lago following his arraignment.
“I didn’t even sneak in here,” Masvidal said as he arrived at the rally. “This is Trump Nation.”
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