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Donald Trump is a 'fighter' and 'loyal friend,' UFC's Dana White says

CLEVELAND— Showman Dana White offered a loud endorsement for another big personality on Tuesday night.

The Ultimate Fighting Championship president praised Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump here, saying Trump backed the mixed martial arts organization in its early days. White said Trump agreed to host early fights at his venues and showed up to watch in the front row.

"Nobody took us seriously. Nobody. Except Donald Trump. Donald was the first guy to recognize the potential we saw in the UFC and encouraged us to build our business," White said.

Dana White, President, Ultimate Fighting Championship, speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 19, 2016.
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Dana White, President, Ultimate Fighting Championship, speaks during the second day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on July 19, 2016.

White admitted that most of the crowd in Quicken Loans Arena may wonder what a fight promoter was doing in Cleveland. But he said he supports Trump because he has "great business instincts" and is a "loyal friend."

"Donald Trump is a fighter and I know he will fight for this country," White said.

The UFC, which White and business partners bought in 2001, was sold earlier this month for $4 billion. White owned 9 percent of the organization and will stay on after the sale.