Donald Trump called Dana White to tell him Holloway vs Ortega was the "greatest fight" he'd ever seen
On the day Trump threatened to shut down the government if his demands over the border wall were not met, he reportedly called UFC boss Dana White to rave about Holloway vs Ortega.
There was quite a long build-up to the recently-concluded UFC Featherweight Championship bout between champion Max Holloway and challenger Brian Ortega at the UFC 231 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada.
Originally scheduled to take place at UFC 226, Holloway had to pull out due to "concussion-like symptoms," though it was clear during his successful defense on December 8 that he was in prime fighting condition, at least, physically.
The fight ended with a Round 4 TKO of Ortega and seemingly had the undivided attention of none other than POTUS Donald Trump. TMZ reports that the president's office left UFC supremo Dana White a voicemail asking for a phone conversation so they could talk about the fight. "Hi Mr. White... the President was hoping to reach you by phone when you're available," it reportedly said.
The speculation was confirmed by White himself, who revealed on Barstool Sports' 'Pardon My Take' podcast that Trump had indeed called him up to rave about the fight.
"He calls me on Tuesday," said White, "and for 15 minutes he couldn't stop talking about the fight."
White said that the president praised both Holloway and Ortega for their "toughness" and termed the Featherweight Championship bout as the "greatest fight" he'd ever seen. While this doesn't seem like news in itself, the timing does strike as a little bit odd.
In fact, on December 8, the day that the bout took place, was also infamously the same day that Trump had a war of words with Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi over his promise to build a border wall with Mexico.
After neither Pelosi nor Schumer budged from their initial offer of $1.6 billion for "border security" — Trump wants $5 billion to construct a wall —the president went so far as to threaten to once again shut down the government if his demands were not met.
However, TMZ reported that is was unclear if Trump's conversation with White took place before or after the meeting. However, as it seemed like the president was in a very good mood, the speculation is that the call almost certainly happened before his meeting with Schumer and Pelosi.
The informal call isn't too surprising considering that Trump and White have been friends for decades, with the UFC boss even going on stage to give a speech endorsing Trump at the Republican National Convention.
They're on such good terms, in fact, that White was asked if Trump had offered the recently filled White House chief of staff position to him. That post has now been taken up by Mick Mulvaney, a former South Carolina congressman who is also serving in the administration as director of the Office of Management and Budget, but may very well become available once again considering the frequent turnovers in the Trump administration.