After an emotional day of poignant speeches by the current and two former presidents of the United States commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, twice-impeached Donald Trump grabbed the microphone to provide commentary on the violent spectacle of a bunch of washed up former fighters beating each other stupid.
Trump’s decision to participate in the pay-per-view event, put on by the social media app Triller at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida, was widely criticized in advance for its tone-deafness. Neither Trump nor Triller would confirm how much it paid the former president and son Donald Jr. to participate, but it was rumored to be a seven figure sum, with a private jet ride thrown in for good measure.
The dumpster fire lived up to its advance billing. The fight originally was to take place in California, but the state’s Athletic Commission refused to sanction it due to Holyfield’s lack of training. The only state that would agree to call it a real boxing match was Republican Ron DeSantis’s Florida. Also, Boxing Hall of Fame announcer Jim Lampley had agreed to lend his credibility to call the fights, but backed out when the Trump’s were brought in to provide commentary.
The so-called undercard foretold how the evening would progress as former U.F.C. fighter Tito Ortiz – the same Trump-supporting Tito Ortiz who resigned from the Huntington Beach, Calif., city council for his anti-mask and anti-vaccination positions – was knocked out one minute into the first round by another former U.F.C. fighter, Anderson Silva.
The main event featured 58-year-old former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield – who hadn’t stepped into the ring in a decade – against a 44-year-old mixed martial artist, Vitor Belfort. Holyfield was a last-minute replacement after Oscar De La Hoya, who last fought when George W. Bush was president, was hospitalized with COVID-19.
Not that it matters, but Belfort won by a technical knockout in the first round after the referee stopped the bout because of how clear it was that Holyfield never should have been allowed into the ring in the first place.
And what was Trump’s piercing insight on the match? “Right from the beginning he was not the same fighter. He lost a lot. It was not Evander Holyfield,” Trump said of the almost 60-year-old former champion.