We often get emails and tweets from avid followers of this website asking us to stick to the fighting instead of politics, but that can be tricky sometimes considering how deeply politics has infiltrated the world of mixed martial arts (MMA).
It feels like it started when Donald Trump became president of the United States. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) — sensing an opportunity to saddle up to the most powerful man in the nation — re-wrote the promotion’s history to make Trump a key figure in the promotion’s survival through its troubled early days. Out of that overt flattery came advantages like new contacts and connections within the Department of State who help keep the flow of visas for international fighters going even amidst these tumultuous times.
Of course, peer-reviewed studies have pointed out a steep rise in extreme political rhetoric and hate crimes along with Trump’s rise. Around the world, other authoritarian-leaning leaders have ridden a similar wave as Trump, and they’re often supported by MMA fighters in their countries. A good example of this is former Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, who had the support of 49.1 percent of Brazilians in the 2022 elections and a much higher percentage of the country’s fighters.
One such fighter is Jose Aldo, who is now a part of Bolsonaro’s current story as the ex-president left Brazil on the eve of his rival Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s ascent to power. Bolsonaro refused to be on hand for the transfer of power, instead choosing to travel to Florida where he’s staying at the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and UFC Featherweight champion’s Orlando vacation home.
It’s unclear how long Bolsonaro will be living in Aldo’s home. Some political commentators suspect he plans on operating “in exile” from Florida to avoid being arrested by agents of the new Brazilian government. That’s the level of tit-for-tat the Brazilian political system is at, as current president Lula spent years in jail over what was revealed to be a politically motivated corruption scandal.
As it stands, many folks on the web aren’t concentrating on the long-term political implications of this all too familiar left vs right strife. Instead, they seem obsessed with the fact that Aldo’s vacation house is kind of bonkers, with multiple themed rooms, including an entire children’s bedroom decorated with Minions.
Having fled Brazil on the advice of his lawyers, soon to be ex-president Jair Bolsonaro is seeing in the new year at the Orlando home of former UFC fighter José Aldo.— BRASILWIRE (@BRASILWIRE) December 31, 2022
One of Aldo's bedrooms is "minion" themed. pic.twitter.com/AggGYqz3RS
For years, Bolsonaro supporters have been referred to as “Bolsominions,” so you better believe people are getting a laugh out of the idea of Jair sleeping in a Minion bed full of Minion plushes under Minion sheets.
We’ll keep you updated if Bolsonaro ends up running a Brazilian government in exile out of Aldo’s vacation space. For now, enjoy this video breaking down Aldo’s crib and all the themed rooms Bolsonaro, his family, and his staff are enjoying these days:
As for Aldo, he retired from UFC competition in 2022 after a tough decision loss to Merab Dvalishvili. There have been rumors that “Scarface” will compete in a boxing event in Russia sometime in early 2023, but no confirmation at this time.