It’s obvious why Trump wants to be associated with the UFC, but what’s in it for Endeavor?
After Donald Trump made a personal appearance at UFC 290 and followed it up with an interview on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Axios wrote a piece analyzing why Trump is aligning himself with the fight promotion.
Most of their points are painfully obvious. Trump’s molding a combative persona because he’s trying to convince working class Americans that he’s fighting for them. Trump’s been a friend of the UFC for 20 years. He’s a huge fan of combat sports. Etc. etc.
But a couple of their points are interesting.
First off, they note that Joe Rogan is not a Trump fan.
“I’m not a Trump supporter in any way, shape or form,” Rogan said earlier this year. “I’ve had the opportunity to have him on my show more than once. I’ve said no every time. I don’t want to help him. I’m not interested in helping him.”
Secondly, they point out the very friendly relationship between Trump and Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel.
Trump was a long-time client of Emanuel’s talent agency back when it was William Morris Endeavor.
In 2016, Trump told The Hollywood Reporter that Ari Emanuel “offered to helm a movie about (Trump) for the 2016 Republican National Convention.”
"He calls me a lot. I call him a lot, and we talk. He's very political. Even though he's not political, he's political. He gets it. You're shocked to hear that [about the film], right?" Trump said. "But yeah, I might do something with Ari."
Trump is also a supporter of Ari’s brother Rahm, who’s currently serving as President Biden’s ambassador to Japan. Trump donated $50,000 to Rahm’s race for Chicago mayor in 2010.
Bloody Elbow is fighting for the sport, the fighters and the fans. Please consider becoming a paid subscriber.
"I like Rahm, I've always liked him as a person, and more importantly, Ari, his brother, is my agent. So I did make a contribution to him, and, frankly, I don't think they had any Republicans running," he told Rush Limbaugh in 2011. "I'm very loyal to people, and that supersedes, frankly, party lines. But I'm very, very loyal to people, and I'm also very loyal to people that I think are good for the country."
A 2019 leak even revealed that Trump had Ari Emanuel vetted for a position in his presidential administration.
For one thing he doesn’t mention Ari Emanuel once. But he does mention the Fertita Brothers, the previous owners of the promotion. When the interview wraps he mentions them by name, but earlier on he just referred to them as “that family” and “our friends.”
Here’s his initial comment, “I got to know Dana, and a whole group of people that were into it and really liking it. And I respected them and I respected Dana a lot. And you know that family is a great family to help Dana out, okay? We don't have to mention names, but that family is fantastic and they've been with me right from the beginning, incredible people, smart people, too, and good people.
“...they couldn't get venues, and I gave them venues early on. And it's an incredible thing, because both Dana and that great group of investors, particularly our friends, appreciated it. “
By the end of the interview Trump has apparently decided to name names or perhaps he just couldn’t remember their name at the beginning.
Here’s what he had to say about the Fertittas, “I do (this podcast interview) for Dana, and I do it for the Fertitta brothers, and they're so fantastic, and they've been so good. So good.
“Actually one of the daughters worked at the White House, and I can only tell you she was so respected. She did such a great job at the White House. She worked doing various things at the White House in prime time, and everybody respected her. so you know. Look, it’s good genes.. When you have good genes, you have good genes that's very important right?”
So it’s fairly obvious what Trump gets from being associated with the UFC, but why is Endeavor so willing to promote such a divisive political figure?