There was a time politicians actively worked to keep UFC events off of even pay-per-view television.
Now the presumptive presidential nominee for a major political party appears poised to have the public face of the UFC speak on his behalf at the convention.
According to the New York Times, Donald Trump said he intends to invite UFC president Dana White to speak at the Republican National Convention next month in Cleveland, Ohio.
Trump proposed the idea during a speech in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday. He has shaken up the political process throughout his campaign and apparently plans to do the same with the convention.
Trump also mentioned Tom Brady, Bobby Knight and Ben Roethlisberger as potential speakers at the convention.
“We’re going to do it a little different, if it’s O.K.,” he told the crowd. “I’m thinking about getting some of the great sports people who like me a lot.
“Dana White, you know Dana White?” Trump asked. “UFC. Guy’s a champion. These are champions.”
White, who credits Trump with helping to bring the UFC to Atlantic City when the organization was still fighting for acceptance, publicly stated his support for the candidate in December. He reaffirmed his support for the candidate in a text message to the Review-Journal on Monday, though he did not indicate whether he would accept an invitation to speak at the convention.
“He’s my guy,” wrote White, who revealed plans to meet with Trump in New York sometime in the next two weeks. “We have been talking a lot.”
Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he was “staying out of politics,” and won’t speak on Trump’s behalf.
Trump said the idea is to have “winners” that aren’t politicians giving the same old tired speeches.
“Our country needs to see winners,” Trump said in Richmond. “We don’t see winners anymore. We have a bunch of clowns running this country. We have people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing running our country.”
The convention runs from July 18 through 21 at Quicken Loans Arena.
Former UFC featherweight title challenger Chad Mendes has been informed of a potential violation of the organization’s anti-doping policy as a result of an out-of-competition test.
Mendes, who has lost three of his last four fights, last competed in a first-round knockout loss to Frankie Edgar in December. He was notified of the potential violation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency, which independently administers the UFC’ s drug program.
The UFC announced the news with a statement on Friday.
“USADA will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case,” the statement read. “It is important to note that, under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair review process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.”
Mendes, 31, suffered the first loss of his career in his first title shot against Jose Aldo in 2012. He didn’t lose again until a rematch with Aldo for the belt in 2014.
UFC DEBUTS IN OTTAWA
Top UFC welterweight contenders Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson will meet Saturday in the main event of UFC Fight Night 89, the organization’s first event in Ottawa.
MacDonald has not competed since he was knocked out by welterweight champ Robbie Lawler in July in a bout widely considered the best fight of 2015. Thompson has won six consecutive fights and is coming off a spectacular first-round knockout of Johny Hendricks in February.
Also on the main card, which airs on Fox Sports 1 at 7:30 p.m., Donald Cerrone will take on welterweight Patrick Cote.
Four fights from the preliminary card will air on Fox Sports 2 at 5:30, with the remaining four fights streaming live on Fight Pass at 3:30 p.m.
FEDOR ON FIGHT PASS
The UFC was unable to reach an agreement to bring Fedor Emelianenko to the organization.
But the legendary heavyweight’s next bout will stream live Friday on the UFC’s online platform, Fight Pass.
Emelianenko, the longtime Pride Fighting Championships heavyweight champ, will fight Fabio Maldonado in the main event of a Eurasian Fight Nights card in St. Petersburg, Russia. The event will stream live on Fight Pass, beginning at 8 a.m.
Emelianenko came out of retirement after three years to score a first-round knockout of Jaideep Singh in December.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at email@example.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj
Bellator 156 (SpikeTV) — June 17, Fresno, California
WSOF 31 (NBC Sports Network) — June 17, Mashantucket, Connecticut.
UFC Fight Night 89 (FS1) — June 18, Ottawa, Canada
Bellator 157: Dynamite 2 (SpikeTV) — June 24, St. Louis, Missouri