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Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump greets the crowd as he attends the UFC 296: Edwards vs. Covington event at T-Mobile Arena on December 16, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Photo / Sean M. Haffey

The crowd at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 302 match Saturday evening erupted into a massive cheer as former President Donald Trump walked out into the audience with UFC CEO Dana White.

Video footage posted to X (formerly known as Twitter) shows the eruption of applause from the crowd as Trump was seen being ushered to his seat by White. Commentators for the matchup could be overheard stating that Trump was receiving a standing ovation from fans, with some seen reaching out to shake the former president’s hand as he passed by.

“Well you had a sneaking suspicion that former President Trump would be in the building for UFC 302, he is a rabid mixed martial arts fan. I kinda feel like he’s betting on these fights when he’s not here,” one commentator stated.

“Boy, the round of applause he’s getting right now is pretty staggering and you had to imagine that’s what was going to happen,” Rogan added in response.

As Trump took his seat for the event, chants from the crowd saying “Fuck Joe Biden” were heard echoing throughout the buildin

The match up, which was held in Newark, New Jersey, featuring a lightweight championship fight between Islam Makhachev and Dustin Poirier, is one of Trump’s first outings since a New York jury found him guilty on all 34 felony counts brought forward by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

UFC fighter Kevin Holland, who won his match against Michal Oleksiejczuk for the middleweight championship fight, was seen immediately running over to Trump and shaking his hand following his win, causing the crowd to erupt in another massive cheer. 

Trump additionally announced Saturday evening his platform on TikTok as he debuted his first video showcasing his time at the fight which gathered more than 22 million views within a few hours over 1.1 million followers by Sunday, surpassing Biden’s campaign platform which sits at a little over 335,000 followers.

Within 2020 Trump sought to ban the download of Chinese-owned apps, which included TikTok and WeChat, through an executive order, but he was later blocked by the courts. By March 2024, Trump later changed his position on a potential ban under the Biden administration due to reported concerns that it would help Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook.

The platform still faces a potential ban following the Senate and Biden’s approval of legislation which included a provision to force the social media app to sell with nine months from their CCP-linked parent company ByteDance in order to continue operations in the U.S.

Since the verdict was announced Thursday evening, Republicans, legal experts and Trump have slammed the trial as prosecutors relied on their key witness, former Trump attorney and convicted liar Michael Cohen. Cohen testified that Trump directed him to make a nondisclosure payment to porn star Storm Daniels as well as claiming the payments were reimbursed through falsified business records.

While Bragg applauded the decision Friday, Trump’s campaign announced that within 24 hours of the verdict the former president received over $50 million in donations. Trump is scheduled to appear for his sentencing July 11, notably just four days prior to the Republican National Committee (RNC) convention.

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