Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is promoting Jorge Masvidal as the special guest at a Wednesday campaign event despite the UFC fighter facing felony battery charges.
According to Florida Politics, DeSantis’ campaign advertised a “DeSantis x Masvidal VIP Experience” for early arrivals who contribute $250 to his gubernatorial re-election bid. Each guest will reportedly an opportunity to “mix and mingle with Jorge Masvidal before the event begins.”
The campaign event takes place less than a week after Masvidal was arrested for allegedly attacking his ex-teammate, Colby Covington. The police report, which did not name the victim of the suspected attack, revealed that Masvidal approached him wearing a hoodie and blue surgical mask outside a Miami restaurant and blindsided him with two punches to the face, which resulted in a fractured tooth and a wrist abrasion.
Masvidal surrendered himself to the police and has since been charged with aggravated battery causing great bodily harm. He entered a written plea of not guilty and was released later that same night after posting a $5,000 bond.
If found guilty, Masvidal could face up to 15 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine for second-degree felony aggravated battery with additional penalties possible for the criminal mischief charge.
Wednesday’s campaign event is not the first time that Masvidal will be featured at a political event. The UFC fighter repeatedly campaigned for former president Donald Trump, including headlining a “Fighters Against Socialism” bus tour with Donald Trump Jr. During the tour, Masvidal espoused the “horrors” of communism and socialism.
“Obviously I am not a politician,” Masvidal told the crowd during one of campaign stops. “I may not be schooled in a lot of these political issues like some of you, but I do know Latinos. Latinos are not lazy people looking for a handout. Latinos don’t want free stuff, we want freedom.”
DeSantis, who recently signed the controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill that banned public school teachers from holding classroom instruction about sexual orientation or gender identity, is also no stranger to Masvidal, who headlined UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida, last year against welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“Welcome to Florida,” DeSantis said at the UFC 261 pre-fight press conference. “You guys aren’t the only ones looking to come to this oasis of freedom.”