Donald Trump Says 'We Want Our Sports Back' in UFC 249 Pre-Fight Video Message

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 10, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA - MAY 09: UFC president Dana White congratulates Bryce Mitchell (not pictured) after his victory during the UFC 249 event at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 09, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

President Donald Trump offered congratulations to UFC President Dana White upon the mixed martial arts promotion's return to the Octagon with UFC 249 on Saturday.

Trump also expressed his desire to see sports back in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused athletic organizations to suspend play for roughly two months.

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"Get the sports leagues back...let's play. You do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do. We need sports. We want our sports back." President Trump on ESPN's broadcast of UFC 249. https://t.co/Wxn0iHfESw

"We love it, we think it's important. Get the sports leagues back, let's play," Trump said.

"You do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do, but we need sports, we want our sports back, and congratulations to Dana White, UFC."

UFC has been on hiatus for two months after holding its last event in Brazil in mid-March. UFC 249 took place in Jacksonville, Florida, and more MMA action will occur shortly with a pair of UFC Fight Night events on Wednesday and Saturday.

Elsewhere, NASCAR is set to return Sunday, May 17, at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. The PGA Tour will also come back June 11 for the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.

Other suspended sports organizations' returns are still up in the air, although Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the best-case scenario for the MLB's return is early July.

As of Saturday evening, over 1.24 million people in the United States have tested positive for COVID-19, and more than 69,800 people have died, per the World Health Organization.