‘Anti-feminist’ WWE star Rousey ‘targeted alongside ex-UFC champ McGregor in DITCHED $300mn Trump ads with Russian-born filmmaker’ — RT Sport News

UFC icons Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor were on a wishlist of high-profile athletes targeted to endorse an ad campaign by the Trump administration before the US presidential election, according to documents revealed by a report.

The botched masterplan, which has been released by the House Oversight Committee in the US, appeared to show hundreds of well-known sportspeople unanimously shunning the frantic bid to secure backing during Donald Trump’s fraught campaign for re-election.

Rousey, who was the UFC bantamweight queen for almost three years before switching to WWE, was one of a long line of figures listed alongside brief notes about their political views in an apparent attempt to target voters that the Republican candidate had traditionally struggled to engage with.

In a baffling twist reminiscent of Trump’s concern for WWE boss Vince McMahon after a staged incident during a wrestling showcase in 2007, the notes on Rousey appeared to declare that she had been arrested at an event set up by the promotion in 2019.

Rousey was handcuffed by pretend police after a skirmish at the end of a wrestling match and later acted out smashing through the window of a squad car, and the administration appeared to have thought the theatrical storyline was real rather than staged.

The 33-year-old, who may have convinced the compilers of the notes with a video on YouTube in which she continued to act out the drama, was described as “anti-feminist” in the briefing for the recruitment drive which was said to have been dreamed up as part of a $300 million coronavirus advertising campaign.

Funded by taxpayers, the ploy had reportedly been designed to “defeat despair” about the spread of Covid-19, which is thought to have been one of the key factors in an election that Trump is a heavy underdog to win with only a few states still to declare their results.

Outspoken former champion McGregor, who praised Trump on Martin Luther King Day in January, and tennis great Serena Williams were also targets on a “PSA Celebrity Tracker” that featured former footballer David Beckham and Formula One king Lewis Hamilton.

Rousey’s public support for Bernie Sanders, one of the Democratic Party’s candidates in 2016, was also noted in a potential partnership that seemed somewhat ambitious on the Republicans’ part.

Trump has courted impassioned support from a range of other UFC fighters this year and claimed that Rousey admired him in 2015, only for the powerhouse to emphatically reject his overtures by admitting that she would neither vote for him nor want him to be the head of state.

The target demographics on the list include “LGBT”, “women”, “Conservatives” and “general public” as part of a survey of 274 individuals vetted to take part in a series of public service announcements to educate people about the pandemic.

Known as “Helping the President will Help the Country”, the campaign did not appear to have enlisted any of its targets by the time it was eventually axed.

Michael Caputo, one of the bosses at the US Department of Health and Human Services, requisitioned $300 million from the Centers for Disease Control to fund the campaign this summer, according to Politico.

The outlet said that the department had advised contractors to hire Russian-born filmmaker Den Tolmor – who they named as a business partner of Caputo – to create the films despite his lack of experience in US public health campaigns.

Actors Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson were on the list, which mispelled film star Julianne Moore’s name while calling her a “Liberal Democrat, pro-choicer, LGBT rights supporter, gun control campaigner.”

Pop star Adam Levine was identified as a “liberal democrat who supported Obama and fights for gay rights”, and singer Christina Aguilera was labeled “an Obama-supporting Democrat and a gay-rights supporting liberal.”

One of the named UFC figures most likely to have accepted the offer was former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, who won a city council seat in California in the election.

The thrilled ex-fighter had also campaigned energetically for Trump, filming himself watching the rest of the results unfold at an event to celebrate his own successful run for power.

The 45-year-old appeared to become mildly disheartened when the outcome of the presidency became unclear as the numbers rolled in, although he bullishly insisted that Trump would still retain control and shared a post claiming that the incumbent had won Pennsylvania to his following of more than 338,000.

Rousey used her platform, which has more than 13.1 million followers, to implore her fans to vote as the polls opened, sharing a photo of herself wearing a sticker advertising the fact that she had cast her ballot.




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