March 1, 2024

Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. President Donald Trump attends a Nevada caucus night party at Treasure Island Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. February 8, 2024. 

David Swanson | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump wrote a social media post earlier in the week asking his supporters to give Anheuser-Busch a “second chance” after UFC president Dana White personally asked him to back the beer company, a source told CNBC.

Anheuser-Busch last year suffered a major backlash over its Bud Light marketing promotion with a transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney.

White, whose UFC is the leading mixed martial arts promotion, reached out directly to Trump to encourage positive commentary about Anheuser-Busch, according to the source, who was familiar with the situation.

In his Truth Social post on Tuesday, Trump appeared to be well-informed about detailed aspects of the beer company’s operations.

He noted that the company spends $700 million a year “with our GREAT Farmers,” employs 65,000 Americans and has provided scholarships to families of fallen members of the military. Trump wrote, “Anheuser-Busch is a GREAT American brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance?”

UFC, which is owned by TKO Group Holdings, in October announced a partnership with Anheuser-Busch to make Bud Light the official beer partner of the mixed martial arts company, in a deal that was reported at the time to be worth $100 million.

In a press release announcing the deal, White said, “There are many reasons why I chose to go with Anheuser-Busch and Bud Light, most importantly because I feel we are very aligned when it comes to our core values and what the UFC brand stands for.”

A spokesman for UFC declined to comment on White’s conversation with Trump. A spokesperson for Anheuser-Busch did not respond to a request for comment.

In his social media post on Tuesday, Trump threatened to release a list of companies – other than Anheuser-Busch – that he considers to be “woke.”

“Am building a list, and might just release it for the World to see,” Trump wrote. His followers, Trump suggested, should be “going after those companies that are looking to DESTROY AMERICA!”

“Those comments came after Trump in a social media post on Sunday was much more critical of the company, saying: “the Bud Light ad will go down as the WORST AD in history.”

“In a matter of minutes 30 billion dollars worth of market cap simply disappeared from the face of the earth. Will they ever get it back? Who knows, but what a mess!” Trump wrote.

Trump, who is the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, attended UFC’s Dec. 16 event in Las Vegas, where he walked out into the audience with White and the musical artist Kid Rock.

Trump had attended two other UFC events previously in 2023, and had been at other of the promotion’s events in prior years.

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