LOS ANGELES - Just a few days before the final night of the 2020 Republican National Convention, UFC President Dana White expressed a serious lack of concern for criticism from those who have opposed his endorsement of President Donald Trump.
“That s--t doesn’t bother me,” White said, according to MMA Junkie. “Listen, this is America. Everybody has their own opinions and their own choices. I know that sometimes people go after you because of whatever, but everybody knows me. Everybody knows what I’m about, and you know.”
White appeared in a virtual address during Thursday night’s RNC with the same enthusiasm for the sitting president as he spoke on his relationship with Trump.
“Many of you know who I am, what I do and that I am friends with the president,” said White. “I spoke at this convention four years ago and I’m back because I believe we need president Trump’s leadership now more than ever.”
It was the second presidential convention that White has attended in support of the president. In 2016, White declared, "Donald Trump is a fighter, and I know he’ll fight for this country."
White has been open about his relationship with the president. He told FOX News (https://www.foxnews.com/sports/ufc-244-dana-white-trump-relationship) earlier this year that their relationship goes back to the earliest days of the UFC, when the company was trying to secure venues in Atlantic City, N.J.
“Everything that ever happened to me in my career, Trump was the first guy to pick up the phone and reach out to me,” White said. “From getting back on pay-per-view, getting our first TV deal when we did the big FOX deal, the guy always reached out to me.”
Speaking on Thursday, White pitched a Trump presidency that would ensure a continuation of the “greatest economy in our nation’s history,” a refrain that many Trump supporters repeated throughout the entirety of the convention.
White claimed that Trump can revamp the economy that has struggled to get back on track during the nation’s lack of a cohesive pandemic response.
White’s sentiment on Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic seemed to be shared among all of the speakers at the Republican convention, despite the fact that the U.S. currently leads the world by a wide margin in the total number of cases and deaths.
More than 180,000 people in the U.S. had died from COVID-19 as of Aug. 27.
Every week, roughly 1 million new Americans are applying for unemployment benefits — a depth of job insecurity not seen in any single week during the depths of the 2007-2009 Great Recession.
Economists say that as many businesses have reopened and consumers have begun shopping and spending more, the picture is beginning to brighten, if only fitfully. Most say the economy is growing again. Yet scars are sure to remain from the catastrophic April-June quarter, when, according to the government, the economy collapsed at a 31.7% annual rate — by far the worst quarterly contraction since such record-keeping began in 1947.
Some industries, notably those involving travel and hotels and restaurants, could struggle for years. And while the number of confirmed viral infections has been declining, the threat of a major resurgence remains, especially as students increasingly return to schools and colleges. The consumers whose spending drives the bulk of the economy and the economists who analyze it are decidedly downbeat about the prospects for a return to prosperity.
White argued that Trump’s immediate focus on involving business and industries in the pandemic response, as well as bringing back sporting events, has helped people feel as normal as possible.
White has served on a business leaders task force helping advise Trump on the economy amid the pandemic. Earlier this year, he was among the sports leaders on a call discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. On the call, Trump said he was looking forward to the resumption of competitions “as soon as we can.”
The Associated Press and FOX News contributed to this report.