In a peculiar twist, two of the three biggest reactions from the UFC 290 pay per view on Saturday night were actually not for mixed martial artists.
One massive pop from the crowd came when WWE legend and Hall of Famer Rey Mysterio Jr. was shown in the crowd (wearing his luchador mask, no less).
That @reymysterio pop ?
This man always has impeccable drip ❄️
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) July 9, 2023
But even that thunderous reaction to Mysterio paled in comparison to the Richter scale-level uproar that former President Donald Trump received when he arrived at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
You can watch that reaction for yourself below:
— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) July 9, 2023
Trump, flanked by outspoken supporter and UFC President Dana White, sauntered down the aisle as the crowd lost their minds. The former president and White both shook hands and high-fived fans on the way to the octagon.
It was the kind of scene you’d expect to see Rey Mysterio in — not the leading GOP candidate to the 2024 presidential nomination.
Given that, it’s almost understandable that the announcers almost didn’t know how to react to Trump’s arrival.
After audibly gasping and reacting to Trump’s official arrival, the announcers still gushed over how big of a deal this was.
“As you might expect for international fight week, a lot of people are in the building,” said Michael Eaves, one of the desk analysts. “But no one needs more security than the former president of the United States.”
“Oh my word,” UFC legend Michael Bisping chimed in. “This is a massive, massive fight.”
But just in case anyone may think that this was just a trumped up (no pun intended) and staged exhibition … well, just look at some of these reactions and tell me they’re not genuine.
Here’s South African UFC fighter Dricus Du Plessis hopping the octagon fence (notice the security in the ring initially reacting to the jump) to shake the former president’s hand after he beat Robert Whittaker:
Dricus Du Plessis greats Donald Trump and Dana White following his TKO win over Robert Whittaker!
— Nina-Marie Daniele (@ninamdrama) July 9, 2023
Here’s the former president of the United States meeting with the Mayor of Flavortown, Guy Fieri:
— Jason Miller (@JasonMillerinDC) July 9, 2023
And here’s Trump using his signature finger point to single out UFC announcer and podcast mogul Joe Rogan:
This is probably the closest we will get to a Joe Rogan-Donald Trump podcast: pic.twitter.com/do5asO3erD
— Damon Imani (@damonimani) July 9, 2023
Look, it’s a fool’s errand to extrapolate Trump’s raucous UFC 290 appearance with anything tangibly pertaining to the 2024 general election (making the mild assumption Trump emerges from a crowded GOP primary field).
UFC has always been a more “conservative” sport, for lack of a better term. At the very least, the league still focuses on sports above far-leftism — something that, say, the NBA and MLB actively struggle with.
That being said, it is worth noting that it would be equally as foolish to summarily dismiss the reaction for Trump at UFC 290.
Whether you want to call it a magnetic personality, a charming personality or a cult of personality, Trump has “it.” The man can connect with swathes of people in ways that the Jeb Bush’s and Mitch McConnell’s of the world could never dream of on their most charismatic day.
UFC 290 proved that Trump is still very much an active man of the people, a stark difference from the bumbling derelict currently occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.