Mixed martial arts sure has come a long way from the early days when politicians were decrying it as ‘human cockfighting’ and actively trying to kill the sport. These days you have your pick across the political spectrum when it comes to leaders that are down with the UFC.
US President Donald Trump was the face of Affliction MMA and had Dana White speak at the Republican National Convention. He invited interim UFC champ Colby Covington into the Oval Office and family members attend Covington’s fights.
On the Democrat side you have presidential candidate Andrew Yang regularly discussing MMA news and vowing to do something about the alleged monopsony the UFC holds in the scene. If Yang’s math doesn’t quite add up to you, Tulsi Gabbard is also running for the Democratic nomination. She recently made headlines on MMA news sites by offering to help Chinese strawweight champion Weili Zhang secure a US visa.
Zhang’s visa came through shortly thereafter, although it’s unclear how big of a part in all that the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district played. Regardless, Zhang and Gabbard seem to have struck up a friendship since then. Photos and video of Gabbard training with Zhang at Roufusport recently showed up on the champ’s Instagram:
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Today I had the honor to meet and train with Miss @tulsigabbard and she is a very strong martial artist. We had a great training session taught by @coachdukeroufus and his team. It is a happy day when martial arts brings people together. Now I am looking forward to watching the fights here in Boston #ufcboston
”Today I had the honor to meet and train with Miss Tulsi Gabbard and she is a very strong martial artist,” Zhang wrote. “We had a great training session taught by Coach Duke Roufus and his team. It is a happy day when martial arts brings people together.”
Gabbard has trained in various martial arts since childhood and there’s video out there of her slinging Capoeira kicks like a boss. You can judge her striking form for yourself with this compilation of videos from her day with Duke Roufus and his team:
Interestingly enough, all of this MMA excitement went down on the same day Gabbard got into a big political shitstorm with Hillary Clinton. Something about Clinton’s wing of the democratic party accusing Tulsi of being a Russian asset? I don’t know, I’m Canadian. Leave me the hell out of it. At the same time as Gabbard was hitting mitts in the gym she was also slinging leather online, calling Clinton ‘the queen of warmongers’ and ‘the embodiment of corruption.’ Some pretty solid smacktalk right there.
But as MSNBC notes, Gabbard never actually denied being a Russian asset!!
With that being the level of political discourse at the moment, we’re now counting down the days until someone suggests Gabbard’s friendship with Zhang represents a secret backchannel connection to her Communist Party of China puppet masters. You heard it here first, folks.