Another MMA fighter has jumped into the political fray.
Royce White, a former NBA first-round pick and current MMA fighter, launched his bid for a U.S. Congress seat Tuesday. The fighter will run for Minnesota’s fifth congressional U.S. representative seat, currently held by Democrat Ilhan Omar. White is running as a Republican—one of several vying to oust the incumbent Omar.
”I’m running for Congress because our leaders have sold us out,” White said in a two-minute campaign video. ”We have to fight for freedom, we have to protect our communities. We have to restore what it means to be an American citizen.”
White goes on to refer to Omar as a “globalist” (a term that is viewed as an antisemetic slur) and a “puppet of the establishment.” He also spoke out against the U.S. government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and vaccine mandates, overlaying his voice-over in the clip with pictures of Anthony Fauci, Barack Obama, and Bill Gates.
White is a former college basketball player who played for Iowa State in the 2011–12 season, posting one of the best seasons in the school’s history. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 2012 as the 16th selection and played just one season with the league due to the fact that he was vocal about his anxiety and mental health, which reportedly put him at odds with the organization.
White eventually pivoted to MMA after training for more than two years. He made his debut against Daiqwon Buckley at LFA 120 on Dec. 10, 2021, but lost the bout via unanimous decision. Now, the longtime athlete is turning his attention to outing Omar from her congressional seat.
Omar has twice won the state’s fifth congressional district. In 2018, she won with 78% of the vote, and followed up two years later with 64.3% of the vote.