US President Donald Trump congratulates Dana White on UFC 249, being first sport back

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U.S. President Donald Trump congratulates Dana White and the UFC

It’s no secret that UFC President Dana White and U.S. President Donald Trump have had a long friendship.

The two became friends when White was just taking over the UFC and Trump was one of the first businessmen to welcome the fight promotion to his venues in Atlantic City, N.J.

Their bond has only strengthened over the years. White actually said the other day that their relationship only strengthened after Trump became president.

White has stumped for Trump on the campaign trail and spoke on his behalf at the Republican National Convention ahead of the 2016 election. Trump has had White as a guest at the White House and attended UFC 244 in New York. 

Considering their history, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the President, who has been trying to find ways to safely restart the U.S. economy, was appreciative of White’s efforts to get the UFC back in business, perhaps providing a blueprint for other sports to follow suit.

“I want to congratulate (UFC President) Dana White and the UFC,” Trump said during the UFC 249 prelims on ESPN. “They’re going to have a big match. We love it. We think it’s important. Get the sports leagues back. Let’s play. You do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do. We need sports. We want our sports back. Congratulations to Dana White and UFC.”

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UFC 249 was derailed on April 18

White has also been a part of the an advisory team that met with President Trump to plan for restarting the economy.

White had one attempt at getting the UFC back in business derailed in April. He had intended for UFC 249 to move forward on its original date of April 18 on Native American tribal lands in California. He insists everything was ready to go, but he stood down at the request of Disney and ESPN executives after they received pressure from California Governor Gavin Newsom and California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Though the fight card underwent several shifts, the revamped event, featuring an interim UFC lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, took place on Saturday in Jacksonville, Fla.