When Dana White gives his speech at the Republican National Convention, he knows he’ll be addressing the nation at a time when politics, led by President Donald Trump, have become especially divisive in the U.S.
Not that this matters to the UFC boss.
“That sh*t doesn’t bother me,” White told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Tuesday night in Las Vegas. “Listen, this is America. Everybody has their own opinions and their own choices. I know that sometimes people go after you because of whatever, but everybody knows me. Everybody knows what I’m about, and you know.
“I don’t know. Talk to me after the speech.”
White, who said he leaves for Washington on Wednesday night, will speak Thursday at the convention in support of his longtime friend Trump, who seeks to be re-elected for a second term opposite Democratic nominee Joe Biden. It’ll mark the second time this year that White has stumped for Trump politically after giving a speech at a February rally in Colorado.
At the convention, White will speak on a night that includes the likes of Trump attorney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter. Trump also will take the podium at the White House.
White, 51, spoke at the convention four years ago, giving a speech that focused on Trump as a loyal friend who was there for the UFC by hosting events at his casino in Atlantic City, N.J., at a time when the promotion struggled to gain acceptance.
“Donald championed the UFC before it was popular, before it grew into a successful business,” White said in 2016, “and I will always be so grateful to him for standing with us in those early days.”
Four years later, what message will White have for the country about the president?
“You’ll have to tune in Thursday to find out,” White said. “I’ll let it speak for itself.”
Whether it’s his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been criticized by health experts as the U.S. death toll nears 180,000, stoking racial unrest with controversial remarks on Black Lives Matter, or other controversies, Trump repeatedly has raised eye brows during his first term.
And while those issues have caused former Trump backers to disassociate themselves with the president, White isn’t concerned with the optics of having blanket support for Trump’s political views.
“I don’t give a sh*t. I don’t care what people think of me or what they think,” White said. “The people that know me know who I am and know what I’m about. Other than that, I (couldn’t) care less. There’s tons of guys that hate Trump, whether it’s celebrities or whatever, and I’m cool with all of them. We’re all cool.
“Like I said, the people who know me, know me, and the people who don’t all judge me anyways. It doesn’t matter to me. I (couldn’t) care less.”