UFC, Dana White welcome Donald Trump to UFC 302 in wake of ‘hush money’ conviction

Donald Trump made his first public appearance since becoming a convicted felon at a high-profile UFC event – naturally.

Trump became the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime after he was found guilty on all 34 felony counts in his New York criminal “hush money” trial Thursday. On Saturday night at UFC 302, Trump was escorted to his cageside seat in grand fashion by UFC CEO Dana White, with the crowd cheering him on at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Just two days ago, a jury found Trump guilty of falsifying business records to hide a $130,000 “hush money” payment to porn star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Each of the 34 counts Trump was convicted of individually has a maximum sentence of four years, which can be imposed consecutively. However, New York has a 20-year maximum consecutive sentence for Class E felonies.

Legal experts told USA TODAY the presumptive 2024 Republican presidential nominee is likely to receive probation or a shorter sentence, with sentencing scheduled for July 11.

Shortly after being found guilty, Trump called the outcome of the six-week trial a “disgrace” and vowed to keep fighting his conviction. One way to do that is to continue catering to his voting base, of which UFC fans largely comprise, as he gears up to run for president a third time following his 2020 loss to Joe Biden.

Trump and White’s friendship dates back more than 20 years to when Trump’s Taj Mahal in Atlantic City welcomed the UFC at a time when the promotion was struggling for acceptance. White’s affection for Trump has been undying ever since, with White speaking on his behalf at the 2016 Republican National Convention and Trump attending several UFC events during and after his presidency.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 302.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie