‘The man in the arena’: Trump receives ‘staggering’ applause at UFC fight days after ‘guilty’ verdict

Showing himself to be both “The Man in the Arena” and an “American Bad A**,” former President Donald Trump was celebrated with “staggering” applause mere miles from the court of his conviction.

A jury of 12 may have found the president guilty Thursday, but Saturday, as twelve fights were slated to take place at The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, thousands stood to cheer when Trump made his entrance at UFC 302.

Accompanied by UFC President Dana White, the GOP leader could be seen shaking hands and waving to the crowd as Kid Rock’s “American Bad A**” played throughout the venue. As he was arriving at his seat, podcast host and fight commentator Joe Rogan asserted, “Boy, the round of applause he’s getting right now is pretty staggering. And you had to imagine that’s what was gonna happen.”

The first major public appearance for the president following his felony conviction on all 34 counts in his New York criminal trial over falsifying business records included a message for his Democratic rival, incumbent President Joe Biden.

Moments after Trump was seated, numerous accounts shared video from within the arena where chants of “F*ck Joe Biden” broke out.

The gathered crowd wasn’t alone in celebrating the special guest that, among others, syndicated radio host Dan Bongino had dubbed “The Outlaw.” After a first round submission of Poland’s Michal Oleksiejczuk, American middleweight Kevin Holland was seen climbing out of the cage to shake Trump’s hand and share some words with the president.

Similarly, Sean Strickland, who sported a political message of his own in line with past comments to mark June 1 as the beginning of “American Pride Month” with a t-shirt depicting Old Glory and the iconic Times Square kiss from V-J Day 1945, gave a shoutout to Trump after winning by split decision in a middleweight fight against Paulo Costa.

“President Trump, you’re the man, bro. This is a damn travesty what they are doing to you. I’ll be donating to you, my man. Let’s get it done,” he said into the microphone held by Rogan who echoed, “Let’s get it done.”

The fighter had also ventured out to the crowd after his fight to snag a picture with the president.

Capturing the tone of the moment, Trump senior advisor Dan Scavino Jr. referenced a speech from then-former President Theodore Roosevelt, known commonly as “The Man in The Arena,” as he shared another view of the GOP leader’s entrance into the venue.

Roosevelt had said in part, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause…”

Kevin Haggerty


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