Embattled former U.S. President Donald Trump shocked fans and fighters inside the T-Mobile Arena with his surprise appearance at UFC 290 on Saturday night.
Trump emerged from the tunnel alongside Dana White and a bevy of secret service agents and was as social as ever, greeting fans who appeared to be genuinely excited to see him in the public eye once again. Sitting cageside, the 45th President of the United States was spotted speaking with many members of the broadcast team, including Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan, who were on hand to lend their special brand of expertise at the commentary table.
Trump is a longtime fan of the UFC and has made his presence known at past events. He is also a close friend of Dana White, who spoke on his behalf during the Republican National Convention in 2020.
Perhaps by design, Trump entered the building while Kid Rock’s ‘American Badass’ played over the loudspeakers.
Dricus Du Plessis Greets Donald Trump Moments After Scoring the Biggest Win of His Career
While ’45’ was spotted shaking hands and conversing with multiple admirers throughout the event, the most noteworthy moment came when newly emerged middleweight title contender Dricus Du Plessis hopped the cage wall in order to shake Trump’s hand seconds after scoring a stunning second-round knockout against former world champion Robert Whittaker.
Du Plessis emerged as the next man in line to challenge reigning middleweight titleholder Israel Adesanya after finishing ‘The Reaper’ in highlight-reel fashion. ‘Stillknocks’ earned himself a $50,000 performance bonus, a title opportunity, and a handshake from a former President. All in all, it was a very good night for the South African standout, even if his celebration was snuffed out by an enraged Adesanya who made his way into the cage and proceeded to hurl racially charged insults at his next opponent.
Donald Trump also had the opportunity to take in two spectacular UFC title fights in the co-main and main event of the evening. Alexandre Pantoja proved once again that he has Brandon Moreno’s number, capturing the flyweight title in a five-round war that had fans on the edge of their seats.
In the evening’s headliner, Alexander Volkanovski once again showed why he is one of the pound-for-pound best in the world, scoring a TKO against interim champion Yair Rodriguez in the third round.