McGregor Suffers Horrific Leg Injury In TKO Loss To Poirier

 

 

American brawler Dustin Poirier overpowered Conor McGregor on Saturday in Las Vegas, winning their lightweight UFC trilogy fight by a TKO after the Irishman appeared to snap his left leg in the waning moments of the opening round.

The fight was officially ruled as a “doctor’s stoppage” at the end of the first round after a bloodied McGregor swung and missed a punch then stumbled backward, his lower leg grotesquely buckling under him near the edge of the octagon.

Poirier then pounced on a helpless McGregor, raining down a series of punches and elbows until McGregor was saved by the bell in front of the capacity crowd at the T-Mobile Arena.

“This guy was saying he was going to murder me and kill me. I am going to leave here in a coffin,” said Poirier.

“Murder is something you don’t clown around with. You don’t talk to people like that. I hope this guy gets home safe to his beautiful family.”

Promoters said afterward that McGregor’s injury was to his lower tibia and that he was expected to undergo surgery on Sunday to repair the damage.

The scheduled five-round rubber match was expected to settle the score and complete the trilogy between the former two-weight UFC champ McGregor and his longtime rival Poirier, who now looks set to get a shot at an undisputed title and establish himself as one of the sport’s superstars.

There was plenty of bad blood between the two in the lead up to their third fight. McGregor insulted Poirier’s wife in a tweet and told Poirier he was going to leave the ring in the box.

Instead, McGregor had to be carted out on a stretcher after doctors stabilized his leg.

“He fractured it on one of the checks at the beginning, then broke it with the punch,” Poirier said. “I felt something. He was kicking me hard. It was probably cracked then on the twist and punch [it broke].”

Poirier said his payback was karma. “This guy is a dirtbag,” Poirier said. “Sometimes these things happen.”

In an expletive-laden interview inside the octagon as he waited for the stretcher to take him out, McGregor insisted he was winning the fight when the freak accident happened.

“I was boxing his bleeding head off. Kicking his bleeding leg off. This is not over,” said McGregor, who has had just one win in four and a half years.

In 2014, McGregor knocked out Poirier in under two minutes and Poirier returned the favour in January, demolishing McGregor with a second-round KO.

It was the first time a capacity crowd has attended a UFC fight in Nevada since the Covid-19 pandemic. With the United States lifting restrictions across the country, fans are returning to sporting events.

Trump booed

Saturday’s crowd included former US President Donald Trump, who was booed by a large contingent of the MMA crowd, while others chanted “U-S-A.”

The first round started with both fighters exchanging kicks and blows, with Poirier getting the better shots in, and it didn’t take long for McGregor to start bleeding from the mouth.

Poirier landed a vicious left hand, a few more long kicks and then they went to the ground for about two minutes of grappling. Poirier let McGregor get up and they both threw a punch at the same time but missed, and that’s when McGregor’s leg buckled.

“When I was walking away and he stayed down, I looked down at his shin and I saw the bone. It was disfigured a little bit. I said, ‘Oh man.'” Poirier said.

Promoter Dana White said he hoped there was a fourth Poirier-McGregor fight.

“You can’t have a fight finish that way,” White said.

Poirier had his own take on another fight.

“We are going to fight again whether it’s in the octagon or the sidewalk,” Poirier said.

AFP

Adesanya Back To His Best In UFC 263 Win Over Vettori

Israel Adesanya defeats Marvin Vettori.

 

Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya was back to his brilliant best Saturday, defeating challenger Marvin Vettori with a show of superior striking and defending his middleweight title at UFC 263 in Glendale, Arizona.

It was a masterful return to form for the New Zealander on a wild night at the Gila River Arena that also saw the UFC crown its first-ever Mexican-born champion.

“I didn’t feel any threat at all,” said Adesanya, 31, after getting a comfortable unanimous decision.

Adesanya suffered the first loss of his MMA career in March after moving up a division and finding himself outmuscled.

But Saturday saw him down to a weight class where he is noticeably more comfortable. The Nigerian-born fighter’s speed around the cage and his precision striking, with low kicks and jabs, was too much for Vettori from the first bell.

The Italian tried to use his bigger bulk to get Adesanya to the mat, but each time the New Zealander slipped out and got up to his feet again.

In the end, the judges’ cards read 50-45, 50-45, 50-45 –- and Adesanya was back in business, describing himself as “the king.”

There were questions before the fight about the mental toll on Adesanya of his career’s first defeat, and of the death last month of one of his close friends who was attacked on a night out in Auckland.

Adesanya dedicated the fight to his friend and laid his belt down in the middle of the cage in tribute.

Before Adesanya’s masterclass, the 18,000-odd fans in attendance raised the roof when flyweight challenger Brandon Moreno laid on a rear-naked choke in the third round that saw Brazil’s Deiveson Figueiredo first tap out and then hand over his belt to the Mexican.

Despite his nation’s storied history across all combat sports, there has never before been a Mexican UFC champion and the 27-year-old Moreno broke down in tears as he spoke in the cage afterwards.

“This moment is so amazing,” he said. “I’ve worked my whole life for this. Viva Mexico!”

The pair had thrown up one of the fights of the year when they met at UFC 256 last December, across five rounds of mayhem that was called a majority draw.

This time around, Moreno left nothing to chance, moving with speed and purpose at a high tempo.

Saturday night continued the UFC’s rollout of live events for American fans as the United States emerges from pandemic lockdowns that shut down most action for a year.

The UFC described the Arizona event as a sellout, much like the open-to-the-public events in Jacksonville, Florida, and Houston, Texas.

PHOTOS: UFC Champion Kamaru Usman Visits Diaspora Office In Abuja

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.
UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

 

The Ultimate Fighting Championship’s welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman is in Nigeria.

On Friday, he visited the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa at her office in Abuja.

Usman a.k.a “The Nigerian Nightmare”, arrived Nigeria on Thursday and has been pictured with Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello.

See photos of the Friday visit below:

 

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

UFC Champion Kamaru Usman visited Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa on June 11, 2021 in Abuja.

 

Photo Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

UFC: Kamaru’s Relentless Pursuit Of Greatness Shows No Signs Of Stopping

 

When he enters the octagon on Saturday, he will be aiming to reach another level of greatness when he defends his welterweight title against Jorge Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida.

He had told channels sports on December the 22nd, 2017 that he was not only going to become champion but would also dominate the division and true to his words, the 33-year-old appears unstoppable.

He has become an absolute nightmare for his rivals vanquishing every one of them on his way to striking gold with a dominant win over former champion, Tyron Woodley almost two years after his prediction.

File photo of Kamaru Usman

 

Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns have since fallen to his superior fighting skills in stunning title defenses.

Usman is already one of the best-ever mixed martial artists and the stats back him up. He is one of only three fighters including Anderson Silva and Khabib Nurmagomedov in MMA history to begin his UFC career 13-0.

READ ALSO: NFF Assures Super Falcons Coach Of Full Support

He has surpassed the Great George St-Pierre’s divisional record of 12 straight wins and if he defeats Masvidal for the second time early Sunday morning Nigerian time, the Auchi-born grappler will own the second-longest winning streak in UFC history, behind Silva’s 16.

 

Usman defeated Masvidal by unanimous decision at UFC 251 last July, but Masvidal accepted the fight on 6 days’ notice after stepping in as a replacement for Gilbert Burns.

READ ALSO: ‘This Is My Cage’: Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman Beat Gilbert, Extends UFC Reign

After eventually dispatching Burns at UFC 258 in February, the champ called out Masvidal vowing to “break him” this time around thus removing any doubt about his superiority.

Once again the 33-year-old is an odds-on favorite with the bookmakers to retain his title and another conclusive win will be another major step towards the summit of MMA’s welterweight Mount Rushmore.

Blachowicz Stuns Previously-Unbeaten Adesanya At UFC 259

 

Jan Blachowicz upset the odds with a grinding unanimous points decision over the previously unbeaten Israel Adesanya to retain his world light heavyweight title at UFC 259 in Las Vegas on Sunday.

“If I had knocked him out it would have been better, but anyway I love this win because he is one of the best in the world,” said the 38-year-old Polish fighter after the judges scored it 49-46, 49-45, and 49-45 in his favour.

It was the first defeat inflicted on the 31-year-old Adesanya, who was stepping up in weight, in his 21-fight career.

The New Zealander, the middleweight title holder, was looking to become only the fifth double-weight world champion in UFC history.

The Nigeria-born fighter found the bigger size of Blachowicz difficult to handle, especially when the Pole drew his opponent into clinches and down on to the mat late in the bout.

Blachowicz only really became a contender after passing the age of 35 and had also been the underdog when he won the vacant title last year against American Dominick Reyes.

“I thought that he would be a little bit faster but he hit harder than I thought,” said Blachowicz, who has spent his career being underestimated, after a successful first defence of the title.

“He was slower and harder which is something I didn’t expect. I knew that if I took him down, I’m bigger, stronger a little bit, so I would be better on the ground.

“I just had to wait for a good moment. I should have used my left hand more, put more pressure on him, but game plan is one (thing), fighting is a different thing.”

Blachowicz, whose win-loss record improved to 27-9, initially looked for a one-shot punch to finish the fight early but Adesanya opted to score points by picking at Blachowicz from range.

Blachowicz began to take control in the fourth. A big left hand and a takedown saw him keep Adesanya under wraps on the ground.

He had Adesanya down again in the fifth for a sustained period of pressure that put the decision beyond doubt.

“Back to the drawing board,” Adesanya said.

There were three world title fights on the card but no fans in attendance as the United States still battles with the coronavirus pandemic.

The opening championship fight made history when Russian Petr Yan was disqualified for an illegal knee to the head against American challenger Aljamain Sterling, who was deemed the winner -– the first time a UFC title had changed hands in that fashion.

Brazil’s Amanda “The Lion” Nunes strengthened her claim to be the greatest female fighter of all time when she forced a first-round submission from Australian Megan Anderson.

The 32-year-old featherweight world champion Nunes -– who also holds the UFC bantamweight belt -– is unbeaten in her past 12 fights, and recently became a mum for the first time.

“You know they say a lion is always dangerous but when she has a baby you can’t stop her, ever,” Nunes said.

‘This Is My Cage’: Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman Beat Gilbert, Extends UFC Reign

Kamaru Usman is ranked number 5. Photo: [email protected] Usman

 

 

Nigeria-born Kamaru Usman blasted away challenger Gilbert Burns on Saturday and extended his seemingly impregnable reign at the top of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight division with a third-round knockout at UFC 258 in Las Vegas.

“This is my cage,” Usman said afterwards. “I’m the undisputed welterweight champion for a reason. I am the best on the planet for a reason. I’m here to stay.”

The bout started with the Brazilian Burns rushing the champion in the center of the cage, landing a huge right to the temple with a minute gone that left Usman wobbling.

But Usman dusted himself off, his rapier-like left jab found its mark, and the champion found his range with some massive rights of his own before the TKO was called with 34 seconds of the third round gone.

It was a straight right that put Burns on his back then, and Usman rained down the blows before referee Herb Dean made the call.

“He caught me in the first round,” said Usman. “I thought: ‘Let’s go to work now’.”

The victory took his lifetime record to 18-1, and the 33-year-old dubbed the “Nigerian Nightmare” is now 13-0 in the UFC — the longest active winning streak across all divisions in the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion.

It is also the longest-ever winning streak for a welterweight in the UFC, surpassing the 12-0 by Canada’s former champ Georges St-Pierre, arguably the greatest fighter the sport has seen.

Saturday’s effort showcased the skill set that has taken Usman to the top.

Burns came to MMA after winning multiple world titles in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Usman looked to keep the action standing.

Burns had said coming into the fight that he had developed the power to match Usman on his feet and the first blow backed the claim.

But a slip then found the Brazilian on his back and Usman used the time to recover, recalibrate, and then come out with all guns blazing.

Saturday’s 10-fight card was the first pay-per-view event the UFC has hosted at its Las Vegas headquarters this year, after its UFC 257 card was staged inside the “Fight Island” complex in Abu Dhabi last month.

The UFC’s Apex facility in Las Vegas remains fan-free –- with strict protocols being enforced — as the United States continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

AFP

Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman Set To Defend UFC Welterweight Title

 

The Nigerian Nightmare, Kamaru Usman will hope to make history in the early hours of Sunday when he goes into the octagon to compete against professional mixed martial artist Gilbert Burns in the Welterweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, USA.

The fight, which will begin on Saturday and roll into the early hours of Sunday, for the European and West African fans of the sport, will see one of UFC 2019’s best fighters currently ranked #1 and Black belt ranker in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Kamaru, take on three-time World Champion, UFC ranked #3 and World Cup gold medalist, Burns, in a fight that is expected to produce fireworks.

READ ALSO: Vardy, Maddison Compound Klopp’s Liverpool Woes

Usman, ranked number 5 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound ranking has recorded 17 victories, 7 by knockouts, 1 by submission, and 9 by decision with just one loss.

The Nigerian will be defending his title for the third time.

His opponent, Burns, popularly known as Durinho has won 19 matches. 8 were by submission, 6 knockouts, 5 by decision, and lost three.

Being the first-ever Nigerian-born champion in UFC history, the Ultimate Fighter 21 tournament winner, has a long line of accomplishments in the NCAA where he won the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championship (174 lbs, in 2010) and secured a triple year win in the NCAA Division II Wrestling All-American (174 lbs) from 2008 to 2010.

The 33-year old Usman has successfully defended his title twice, shares the record for 12 wins, the most consecutive wins in the welterweight division, and should he win this fight, it will be the longest ever winning streak in the welterweight division.

Adesanya Retains UFC Title, Knocks Out Costa

 

Nigerian-born New Zealand professional mixed martial artist Israel Adesanya has retained his UFC middleweight champion title with a second-round knockout of Brazilian Paulo Costa.

Adesanya delivered a top-notch performance on Fight Island to retain his UFC middleweight title for the second time.

READ ALSO: Real Madrid Complete Comeback To Defeat Real Betis In La Liga

 

 

While the first round of the fight saw less action, things got intense in the second round, with Adesanya dealing more purposeful blows at his opponent and eventually knocking him out.

The victory over Costa makes it the 20th in Adesanya’s career.

Source: [email protected]

‘You Made It Look Easy’

While congratulating Adesanya for the win, the Chairman of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Abike Dabiri-Erewa, hailed him for making his victory look easy.

 

“Congrats ⁦@stylebender,” she tweeted on her handle earlier in the day.  “You made it all look so so easy.”

 

[email protected] Dare.

 

The Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday also tweeted to lauded the mixed martial artist for the win.

“The Champ!! Israel Adesanya,” he wrote, Sunday.

The Last Style Bender has now maintained his 100 per cent record in the octagon, extending his dominance in the UFC middleweight.

Another Nigerian, Kamaru Usman is also enjoying dominance in the welterweight division.

‘You Reminded The World That Good Things Still Come From Nigeria,’ Buhari Hails Usman

Usman kamaru
Usman’s 12-0 UFC welterweight record is equalled only by future Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre (26-2).

 

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has described Kamaru Usman’s Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) successful welterweight title defense as a sign that good things and great people can still come out from Nigeria. 

Usman had on Sunday defeated Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi to retain the Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight world title, scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards.

While congratulating him for the win which he described as “emphatic,” Buhari in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, hailed the 35-year-old for making Nigerians proud.

READ ALSO: Usman Outclasses Masvidal As UFC Debuts On ‘Fight Island’ In UAE

According to the statement, “As the first African-born and Nigerian UFC Champion, President Buhari commends the courageous fighter for finishing strong inside the octagon, proudly flying the green and white colours in distant lands, and reminding the world that good things and great people still come out of Nigeria.”

The Nigerian leader said even as the COVID-19 pandemic has brought sadness to families across the world, Usman’s title defence has brought smiles and joy to Nigerians.

“While the global COVID-19 pandemic may have brought gloom to many families and nations, the President is delighted and gratified that our welterweight champion has lifted our spirits with another professional performance proving that things will surely get better at the fullness of time when we remain committed to our vision,” the statement read.

“The President wishes Usman the very best and more victories in his career and prays that like fine wine, he improves with age.”

 Taking Him On

“Gamebred (Masvidal) is the biggest, baddest dude out there right now and I had to take him,” said Usman after the fight.

“I know a lot of noise was made about him preparing on short notice but all these guys are preparing for one guy and that’s me.

“I’m just at a level better. I have more tools in the tool box and when I need to I can pull them out and use them.”

Usman Outclasses Masvidal As UFC Debuts On ‘Fight Island’ In UAE

 

Kamaru Usman put on a ‘Fight Island’ masterclass Sunday to retain his Ultimate Fighting Championship welterweight world title by grinding down a brave Jorge Masvidal in Abu Dhabi.

“I’m at the top of the mountain and everyone’s looking at me,” declared the 33-year-old Usman after scoring a unanimous points decision 50-45, 50-45 and 49-46 on the three judges’ cards.

The Nigerian-American Usman (17-1) looked the fresher with Masvidal (35-14) having taken the UFC 251 headline bout at just six days’ notice when Brazil’s Gilbert Burns (19-3) tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to travel.

The Las Vegas-based UFC pulled off a power-packed schedule with three world title fights to kick off a series of mixed martial arts cards.

It helped fulfil supremo Dana White’s vision of a coronavirus-free ‘Fight Island’, something he first floated when the pandemic caused a global shutdown of sport in March.

UFC has decamped to Abu Dhabi’s locked down Yas Island in the United Arab Emirates until the end of July to isolate fighters from the threat of the COVID-19 and ensure the shows roll on.

Strict protocols mean athletes and staff are tested twice before leaving for the UAE, and twice again on arrival, before spending 48 hours in quarantine — measures that caught out Usman’s original opponent Burns (19-3).

Usman never gave the 35-year-old replacement Masvidal the space to land the combinations for which he is noted, and he monstered Cuban-American when the action hit the cage, and the canvas.

“Gamebred (Masvidal) is the biggest, baddest dude out there right now and I had to take him,” said Usman.

“I know a lot of noise was made about him preparing on short notice but all these guys are preparing for one guy and that’s me.

“I’m just at a level better. I have more tools in the tool box and when I need to I can pull them out and use them.”

The pair had exchanged heated words via social media in the lead-up to the event -– Masvidal claiming his opponent had “crossed lines” – and they were chipping away at each other in between rounds.

But there were smiles at the end when the judges ruled overwhelmingly in favour of Usman with Masvidal, who was without his coach Mike Brown who had also tested positive for COVID-19, applauding his opponent.

Usman’s 12-0 UFC welterweight record is equalled only by future Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre (26-2).

The headline fight and the two other title fights delivered on the hype that had been built around the “Fight Island” showpiece.

Australian featherweight world champion Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) edged the tightest of split decisions 48-47, 47-48, 48-47 in a thrilling rematch against former champion from Hawaii, Max Holloway (21-6).

Brazil’s former three-time world champion Jose Aldo (28-7) was stopped in the fifth by relentless Russian Petr Yan (15-1) who claimed the vacant bantamweight crown.

The 27-year-old Yan rained in blows on his 33-year-old opponent for three minutes before the referee stepped in to save the veteran.

“Aldo is a legend. I have only respect for him,” said Yan. “It was a good knockout. I liked it.”

Before those title fights came a brutal women’s strawweight rematch between America’s Rose Namajunas (10-4) and the Brazilian Jessica Andrade (20-8).

Andrade had stripped the title from Namajunas in May 2019 by pile-driving her to the canvas for a knockout.

This time the pair traded blows before the 28-year-old Namajunas, her face bloodied, edged a split decision 28-29, 29-28, 29-28.

The 38-year-old Namajunas will now likely get a world title shot against champion Zhang Weili (21-1) from China, who took the title from Andrade 11 months ago.

Israel Adesanya Defeats Yoel Romero To Retain UFC Belt

Israel Adesanya after beating Yoel Romero to retain his UFC Middleweight title on 7th of March, 2020. Photo: [email protected]

 

Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya has defeated Cuban Yoel Romero in a unanimous decision to retain his belt as the UFC Middleweight Champion. 

The judges scored the fight which took place in Las Vegas, 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46, in favour of Adesanya.

From the onset, it was a largely non-committal affair as many expected but Adesanya, 30, peppered Romero with leg kicks.

The fight began with the 40-year-old Cuban fixed in the centre of the Octagon with a high guard.

In the first two rounds, Romero’s style caused troubles for Adesanya who later found his rhythm in the second half of the fight.

This was Adesanya’s first title defence since victory against Australian Robert Whittaker in Melbourne in 2019.

Trump Booed At UFC Bout In New York

US Secret Service agents watch the crowd during the Ultimate Fighting Championship at Madison Square Garden in New York on November 2, 2019. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP

 

 

President Donald Trump was booed for the second time in a week at a sporting event Saturday as he watched mixed martial artists brawl in a cage in New York.

Trump sat around 15 feet away as UFC fighters delivered vicious kicks and punches to the face and body of their opponents, regularly drawing blood, at Madison Square Garden.

The president was seen clapping and at one point stood up for a better view as 20,000 pumped-up fans screamed and swore amid an electric atmosphere at the pay-per-view spectacle.

Jeers rang out as Trump, wearing a dark suit and red tie, punched his fist and waved at the crowd as he walked into the arena shortly before 10pm (0300GMT).

READ ALSO: Rescuers Retrieve Two Bodies From South Korea Chopper Crash

Many fans also cheered the US leader and there was no repeat of the loud chants of “lock him up” that greeted his appearance at a World Series baseball game last weekend.

“We’d be having more fun if he wasn’t here,” 50-year-old Anna Torres, who booed loudly with her boyfriend, told AFP.

Some spectators, however, were delighted to see the president, who has a fight of his own on his hands back in Washington with the Democrats’ bid to impeach him.

“It’s disrespectful to boo because he is our president,” said Nico Ferranti, 30, adding that he was unsurprised to see the president turn up.

“He’s from New York and he likes this kind of stuff. Back in the day he was on Wrestlemania,” said Ferranti, referring to Trump’s infamous scripted bodyslam of WWE President Vince McMahon in 2007.

Several dozen protesters carrying placards with slogans such as “Trump/Pence Out Now!” and “Headlock Him Up”, in reference to a UFC move, demonstrated outside the Manhattan venue.

Inside, the president, 73, looked concerned as a lightweight fighter delivered a brutal left kick to his rival’s face during the first bout on the main card.

The contact, which left the fighter sprawled on the ground for around 30 seconds, drew loud gasps from the capacity crowd as they watched the slow-motion replay of his face being squished.

Trump, who spent three hours at the fight night, could be seen clapping in support when the felled fighter finally got to his feet.

He also heards fans chant “USA” as an American brawler triumphed over his Bulgarian counterpart.

In the crowd, sporadic, alcohol-fueled fights broke out. At least two people were dragged away by security in just one section.

Down below, ring girls wearing just shorts and a bra walked around the periphery of the cage carrying boards above their heads displaying the number of the next round.

– ‘The Rock’ –

The president attended with sons Donald Jr and Eric, and several Republican leaders. All three Trumps retweeted a video showing spectators applauding the TV reality star turned politician.

“I cheered for him,” said Ilya Dibner, who had travelled from Philadelphia for the event.

“I may not agree with his policies but it’s cool he’s sitting out there with the people when he could be in a box.”

Trump has long been a fan of UFC, hosting events at his hotels, and is known to be close to its president Dana White, who has publicly backed POTUS.

He was due to stay overnight at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue before leaving Sunday morning, a departure that coincides with New York’s marathon, adding to fears of traffic chaos in the Big Apple.

Trump’s visit came two days after he announced that he and his family would be changing their main residency from New York to Florida, where tax rates are lower.

Trump left shortly before 1:00 am after Jorge Masvidal defeated Nate Diaz for the “BMF” belt in the night’s final fight. Wrestler-turned actor Dwayne Johnson, known as “The Rock”, presented the belt.

AFP