United States President Donald Trump sent a message of congratulations to Dana White and the UFC for being the first major sports league to return to action following the COVID-19 shutdown.

Trump has earmarked sports leagues as the starting point for a gradual restart of the US economy, and he invited White, who spoke for him at the Republican National Convention, to be a part of a consultation group that also included the NBA’s Adam Silver and the NFL’s Roger Goodell, among other major US sports stakeholders.

White’s attempts to hold UFC 249 saw the event switched from Brooklyn to Lemoore, then to Jacksonville, where the event eventually took place.

And Trump sent a video message to the UFC and White to convey his congratulations for getting the sports world back underway again.

“It’s an honor to be here, and it’s an honor to salute you,” he said from the White House lawn.

“I want to congratulate Dana White and the UFC. They’re going to have a big match. We love it. We think it’s important.

“Get the sports leagues back, let’s play. You do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do. But we need sports.

“We want our sports back, and congratulations to Dana White (and the) UFC.”