Politics and MMA historically only used to cross paths during discussions of legalization. The sport has moved on significantly since then. Now we find senators, political representatives and even the US president himself reveling in fighter endorsement.
Most recently, UFC lightweight star Kevin Lee was a special guest at a Las Vegas rally for Democratic presidential candidate: Bernie Sanders.
“A couple weeks ago, I got to come to a town meeting here in Las Vegas, got to meet Bernie. And right away, as soon as I could see into his eyes, I could see that the man was a real fighter.” –@MoTownPhenom pic.twitter.com/xXkTbhcNeu— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) December 22, 2019
“A couple weeks ago, I got to come to a town meeting here in Las Vegas, got to meet Bernie. And right away, as soon as I could see into his eyes, I could see that the man was a real fighter,” Kevin said at the rally.
Lee, who posted the edited photo above on his Instagram profile of current president Donald Trump on the canvas — has been critical of the fact that he was muted when attempting to endorse Sanders in his post-fight speech at UFC 244. An event that Trump was in attendance for.
“But after I knocked the kid [Gregor Gillespie] out in the first round, I said Bernie Sanders over the camera and they tried to mute me,” Lee said.
Lee, who was born and raised in Detroit but moved to Las Vegas in 2014 to focus on his training, joined Sanders and congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez in front of a 2,000-strong crowd at Chaparral High School.
The 27-year-old also could not help but take a shot at ‘[Donald] Trump’s boy’ Colby Covington, who is coming off a TKO loss to UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“I don’t know how many people saw the fight last week. President Trump’s boy [Covington] getting knocked out in the title fight. We all gonna take our lumps but this man ran out the back door of T-Mobile Arena and I’m not ashamed to stand up here and say that I fought in that same arena in 2017 for my first world title and I lost it. I’m not ashamed to say that,” (transcript via MMA Fighting)
The UFC 245 event drew eyes around the world — in part because of the growing friendship between Covington and the US president.
Lee’s next bout could be against Islam Makhachev (18-1) at UFC 249 in April.