President Donald Trump was met with loud boos from UFC fans as he entered Madison Square Garden on Saturday night for a mixed martial arts title fight.
Trump entered the arena with his sons Donald Jr and Eric Trump, and UFC President Dana White – a longtime friend – and a large security detail at around 10pm.
Trump’s advisors thought UFC would be more “his base” than the World Series.— Angry Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) November 3, 2019
They thought wrong. https://t.co/HFry1LFwoA
Trump also attended with a group of Republican lawmakers, as he did during Game 5 of the World Series, where he was roundly booed by Washington, D.C. fans and treated to chants of 'Lock him up!'
He got more mixed reviews in New York, where the Queens native also received some loud cheering from fans alongside the chorus of boos when he strolled in.
Soon afterward, before the first of five main card fights he came to watch, Trump stood to wave to audience members sitting close to the action. Here, many fight fans gave him cheers, as video shot by a DailyMail.com reporter traveling with the president revealed.
In other footage, someone in the crowd can be heard shouting: 'F**k you, f**k you,' as a section of the crowd in upper level seats could be heard booing as he walked in.
At least one person could be seen making an obscene hand gesture when Trump walked in. Someone waved a Trump flag in the arena.
Trump Jr. weighed in with his own crowd analysis on Twitter in the midst of the action.
'Despite the bulls*** from blue checkmark Twitter, when we walked into the arena it was overwhelmingly positive. @danawhite said it was the most electrifying entrance he seen in 25 years of doing this. @ufc,' the president's son wrote.
The president retweeted his son's missive.
Eric Trump also weighed in saying there were chants of 'Donald Trump, Donald Trump... USA USA.'
A pool reporter traveling with the president didn't hear that particular chant in the packed arena, although there were multiple 'USA!' chants when American fighter Derrick Lewis took on Bulgarian Blagoy Ivanov.
After his initial entrance and wave, the president tried to keep the focus on the fights, eschewing visible reactions to some of the most visceral action inside the black metal cage in the center of the arena.
It didn't take long after the president's arrival for the stark violence of the sport to reveal itself. Lightweight Kevin Lee delivered a vicious left kick to rival Gregor Gillespie's face.
The fighter with a 13-1 UFC record immediately hit the deck, after Lee followed up with an additional glancing blow on his way down.
The president stood and looked on with an expression of concern after the audience gasped and the fighter lay prostrate on the mat for about 30 seconds with his mouth agape after the knockout.
After Gillespie was revived and appeared to be alright, the president could be seen clapping in support.
Meanwhile protesters gathered outside Madison Square Garden on Saturday night ahead of Donald Trump's attendance at a mixed martial arts title fight.
Demonstrators outside the arena held a placard saying: 'Headlock him up', and 'Remove Trump' as they gathered at the entrance of the Manhattan venue.
Some people claimed they 'wanted the truth' regarding Trump's demand to the Ukrainian government to lunch an inquiry into the Bidens in exchange for military aid mandated by Congress.
Around 150 protesters from activist groups Refuse Fascism and Rise and Resist assembled in front of the Garden's main entrance on Seventh Ave.
Trump's son Donald Jr and Eric were seated beside their father at the game, and Donald Jr posted a picture of POTUS with Dana White on Instagram with the caption: Great night with two legends, @readldonaldtrump and @danawhite!!! @ufc.'
The White House waited until Saturday night to confirm that Trump would be attending the Ultimate Fighting Championship event, which features two fighters battling it out inside a cage, with punches and kicks allowed.
He is the first president of the United States to attend an MMA fight during his term, and it comes days after he watched part of Game 5 of the World Series. Trump broke tradition by failing to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a baseball game during his presidency so far.
Demonstrators could be heard chanting: Trump, Pence out now. The system is outrageous, they put our kids in cages.'
'People are feeling helpless, like they have no power ... We are trying to avert an existential threat,' Jane Aptaker told the New York Daily News.
Trump supporters were also in the vicinity of the midtown stadium and some of them could be seen wearing MAGA hats.
POTUS was accompanied by Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Congressman Mark Meadows at the fight. Both have been critical defends of the president as he takes on his own form of cage match – fighting off Democrats as they pursue an impeachment inquiry against him.
There was also a high security presence and some traffic disruption as POTUS and his escort made their way from a helipad in Downtown New York to Midtown Manhattan to watch the event.
McCarthy earlier demanded that Nancy Pelosi suspend the Democrats' impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump until Congress can agree on 'transparent and equitable rules' in the process.
His offense move comes as some Republican lawmakers have been grumbling that the White House has not had a concise, planned response to the Democrats' position.
The White House was tight-lipped about the event this week even amid suggestions that the president would go. Trump is longtime friends with Ultimate Fighting Championship owner Dana White.
Air Force One touched down at Kennedy Airport at about 8.05 pm and afterwards Trump was expected to fly to the Wall St. Heliport.
Trump's trip to his home town comes after it was revealed he and First Lady Melania Trump have changed their official residence to Florida.
His appearance at the MMA event comes just days after Trump Melania were booed by a crowd chanting 'lock him up' and waving 'veterans for impeachment' banner. POTUS made a surprise appearance at World Series game in DC after celebrating death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in daring US raid.
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump entered a lower-tier box to the left of home plate as the game got underway.
At that point his presence wasn't formally announced, but baseball fans in the section just below Trump's suite turned to look toward the box as he arrived. Some waved at the president as he smiled and gave a thumbs-up.
At the end of the third inning, ballpark video screens carried a salute to U.S. service members that drew cheers throughout the stadium.
When the video cut to Trump and his entourage, cheers abruptly turned into a torrent of boos and heckling, with chants of 'Lock him up!' breaking out in some sections.
Trump cited New York's political leadership, taxes, being treated unfairly, and the city becoming 'dirty.'
Trump and White have been friends for years. Trump's now defunct Atlantic City hotel hosted Ultimate Fighting Championship events soon after White took control of the league, which has gone through controversial periods.
The main event at UFC 244 is a fight between Nate Diaz and Jorge Masvidal.
In an interview on Saturday night, American MMA fighter Masvidal called Trump a bad motherf*****.'
He said: 'No matter what your views on Trump as a president, the guy's a bad motherf***** man. The money that he's made, the obstacles that he's conquered. He's a bad motherf***** in his own way you know. No matter what your political views are.'
The winner will receive the 'Baddest Mother****** in the Game' belt. It is to be presented by Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson at the Garden, a venue that holds bout 20,000 for boxing fights.
UFC President Dana White spoke at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland that nominated Trump. 'I've been in the fight business my whole life. I know fighters. Ladies and gentlemen, Donald Trump is a fighter and I know he will fight for this country,' he told the Cleveland crowd.
And White told the Washington Times in 2018: 'That guy gave us our start when nobody would talk to us. No arenas wanted us.'
The high-profile sports event – which is available on pay-per-view – comes after Trump attended Game 5 of the World Series in Washington, D.C. Trump was treated to boos and cheers of 'Lock Him up.'
Amid speculation of Trump going to the fight, Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York said he wasn't able to go to the event with the president, who he sometimes advises.
He noted that his twin daughter are having their bat mitzvah ceremonies in Florida Saturday. He wouldn't speculate on how the crowd would respond to the president.
'I have no idea what the exit polling of an MSG UFC fight is looking like these days,' Zeldin told DailyMail.com.
'I have no idea and won't try to speculate as to Trump's job approval amongst this Saturday's UFC MSG audience,' he added.
Democratic Caucus Chair Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, asked if Trump would get a better reception than he did at the World Series, replied: 'Unlikely.'
Trump quietly filed documents in September with the Palm Beach County Circuit Court changing his primary residence from Trump Tower to Mar-a-Lago, his resort in Palm Beach.
The president acknowledged the change in a series of tweets on Thursday, saying: '1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House, is the place I have come to love and will stay for, hopefully, another 5 years as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, but my family and I will be making Palm Beach, Florida, our Permanent Residence.'
'I cherish New York, and the people of New York, and always will, but unfortunately, despite the fact that I pay millions of dollars in city, state and local taxes each year, I have been treated very badly by the political leaders of both the city and state,' he continued.
Trump, born in Queens, is a lifelong New Yorker but has rarely returned to his penthouse in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue since taking office in January 2017.
He often spends weekends away from the White House at Mar-a-Lago, however.
White House officials refused to say why Trump had changed his official residence, but a person close to the president told the Times that it was primary for tax purposes.
That person also said that Trump was infuriated by a lawsuit filed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, seeking to publicly release the president's tax returns.
Florida is noted as one of the states with no state income tax.
New York state has seen a notable exodus of the ultra-rich since Republicans passed a tax bill in 2017 eliminating federal tax deductions for certain state and local taxes.
New York State's top tax rate is nearly 9% and New York City's top rate is nearly 4%.
Under New York law, anyone who spends more than 184 days a year in the state has to pay New York taxes.
Since becoming president, Mr. Trump has spent 99 days at Mar-a-Lago compared with 20 days at Trump Tower, according to NBC News.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has accused the president of changing his permanent residence from his home in New York to avoid having to share his tax returns.
Cuomo, however, told The Hill that he thought not only did the president want to pay lower taxes, but that he moved to Florida to avoid having to make his tax returns public since the Manhattan District Attorney is eager for them to be made known.
'I don't think this is about taxes. I think this is a legal maneuver.
'He's being sued by the Manhattan District Attorney in New York for release of his taxes which he doesn't want to do obviously and I think this is a desperate legal tactic whereby they're going to argue well we're not New York residents anymore, we're Florida residents, so New York doesn't have a right to the tax returns,' he said.
He earlier reacted to the news by saying 'good riddance.'
Trump has previously mocked CNN host Chris Cuomo as 'Fredo,' who is depicted in the Godfather trilogy as the brother who lacks the sense or fortitude to do almost anything right (although he does succeed in saving protagonist Don Corleone's life when he gets hospitalized).
Their father is former Gov. Mario Cuomo, meaning in Trump's analogy, the current governor would either be hot-headed Sonny Corleone or cunning successor Michael Corleone.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.