Twitter telltales have taken UFC president Dana White to task after he was seen emerging from a car with close friend Donald Trump on the US presidential campaign trail, earning predictable criticism as he seemed to go mask-free.
Republican party backer White was called out when a presenter and former basketball player saw him stepping out of a presidential car he had been traveling in with Trump in Las Vegas, thanking a member of the president’s staff as the pair boarded a plane to Arizona.
Trump courted controversy when he took part in a drive-by for his supporters just days after testing positive for Covid-19 earlier this month, and self-declared experts were on the offensive again over White’s apparent decision not to observe public health advice during the pandemic.
“That is a mask-less Dana White getting out of the car, right?” asked the viewer, sparking a barrage of sarcastic comments about White’s insistence that the UFC had assiduously followed protocols around containing the coronavirus.
Yes. But why would he wear a mask?? President Trump doesn’t have the virus. And if Dana White does, he can’t transmit it to the President. pic.twitter.com/M14I1xOWsb
— DaronsDubs415 (@DaronsDubs415) October 28, 2020
“Why would he wear a mask?” fired back one observer. “President Trump doesn’t have the virus.
“And if Dana White does, he can’t transmit it to the President.”
Another signaled the boredom that many feel over the blurring between sport and political point-scoring.
“How often does Dana make political statements while on the clock?” they asked.
“Genuinely asking. I don’t recall him saying anything political during a live UFC event. I could be wrong and if someone can tag a video I would appreciate it.”
During UFC 254 at the weekend, a fan wrote: “Dana White is just saying ‘f*ck you’ to the whole over the top, social distancing and mask wearing after already testing negative bubble sports league shtick.
Yeah. He can’t catch or give covid since he’s already had it, right? People just looking to stir the pot
— Eric Justice (@chefjustice1) October 28, 2020
Dana White just sayin fuk you to the whole over the top, “social distancing and mask wearing after already testing negative bubble sports league” shtick. Guys are doing face to face interviews shoulder to shoulder and I love it.
— Desto (@DestoLeafs) October 24, 2020
Trump on California’s restrictive COVID-19 regulations:“In California you have to eat through the mask…when you eat spaghetti and meatballs it looks like you got in a fight with Dana White.”🤣🤣🤣
— Courtney Holland 🇺🇸 (@hollandcourtney) October 28, 2020
“Guys are doing face-to-face interviews shoulder-to-shoulder and I love it.”
White has been a long-term ally of fellow businessman Trump, praising the Republican candidate at rallies and reportedly donating $1 million towards his campaign.
Ahead of UFC 249 earlier this year, he claimed that UFC athletes and employees were being “tested like crazy”, costing the promotion hundreds of thousands of dollars in a major blow to revenue at a time when fans have been banned from watching events.
“Just this week alone we’ll do over 1,100 tests,” White told a podcast. “It’s expensive. All in, it’s probably $130 to $135 a test.”
Mask-wearing has been a point of huge contention in the US, where several high-profile incidents, including police attending gyms that refused to close and an apparent attack by cops on a woman who did not wear a mask at a school baseball game last month, have raised questions over personal freedom.
Speaking in Arizona, Trump namechecked White while bizarrely claiming that authorities were forcing people to wear “special” masks in public.
“Boy, you know, when you have spaghetti and meat sauce, that mask is not looking good,” he told a crowd of supporters ahead of next week’s election.
“When you walk out, it looks like you got into a fight with Dana White. Where’s Dana?
“Does anybody know who Dana White is? It looks like you got into a fight with one of his fighters.”