‘Headlock him up!’ Protesters gather outside Madison Square Garden as US president Donald Trump watches UFC 244 (VIDEO)

‘Headlock him up!’ Protesters gather outside Madison Square Garden as US president Donald Trump watches UFC 244 (VIDEO) Donald Trump‘s presence at UFC 244 at Madison Square Garden caused chaos backstage, protests outside the arena and a mixed reception from the fans in the arena as the US president took in the night‘s big-fight action in New York.

It was reported earlier in the week that Trump would be attending the event, and his arrival at the famous New York venue mid-way through the preliminary card caused havoc backstage for the journalists, coaches and fighters working the event.

Media members were subjected to more stringent searches as they entered the arena for the fights.

And after Trump arrived at the arena. ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto tweeted that the backstage area had been temporarily put on lockdown.

“Random UFC 244 note, nearly the entire backstage tunnel area is shut down, apparently due to President Trump’s presence back there. I’m stuck outside the interview area. More importantly Firas Zahabi is stuck out here and can’t get to Kevin Lee, who is two fights away.”

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Trump’s attendance at the event wasn’t just noted by the MMA fanbase and media, as the scenes outside Madison Square Garden showed crowds of placard-holding protesters had gathered to show their displeasure at their commander-in-chief’s presence in The Big Apple.

“HEADLOCK HIM UP!” said one placard, while the crowd chanted for the removal of Trump and vice president Mike Pence.

But when Trump arrived on the arena floor, he appeared to receive a much warmer reception inside the arena than outside, as his appearance was greeted by applause and a mixture of cheers and boos. 

And while the reception he received from the New York fans was certainly mixed, the president clearly enjoyed meeting Panamanian boxing legend Roberto Duran, who was also in attendance to watch main event star Jorge Masvidal in action against Nate Diaz.

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