JACKSONVILLE, Florida—Television coverage of Saturday night’s UFC 249 event kicked off with a blessing from the President of the United States.
A video message from Donald Trump was played to kick off the live broadcast of the first major live sporting event since the global coronavirus pandemic brought the sports world to a screeching halt in mid-March.
“We love it,” Trump said after congratulating UFC President Dana White for making it happen. “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. But we need sports. We want our sports back.”
The video was shot on the White House grounds.
Trump and White are longtime friends, stemming from when White put on cards in Atlantic City, N.J., during the early days of the UFC.
White spoke on Trump’s behalf at the 2016 Republican National Convention and the two communicate often.