Republican Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter, challenged Democratic lawyer Michael Avenatti to “meet him on the mat.”
Avenatti and Donald Trump Jr. have sparred on Twitter in recent weeks over special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation and Avenatti’s rumored presidential ambitions. The rivalry took a surreal turn last week, when Avenatti challenged Trump Jr. to a “three-round mixed martial arts fight” with the proceeds going to charity.
Avenatti has positioned himself as an antagonist of the Trump administration since taking up the case of Stormy Daniels, a porn actress who seeks to void a nondisclosure agreement signed with the president days before the 2016 election.
The former cage fighter intervened Tuesday, offering to take on Avenatti himself.
It’s ridiculous that @MichaelAvenatti would even challenge @DonaldJTrumpJr to a fight. But if he’s looking for a publicity stunt, I‘d be more than happy to meet him on the mat. https://t.co/SSmIN6QOHR
Mullin’s background as a professional fighter has informed his politics. He’s sponsored legislation that would amend the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act to include the UFC and improve worker protections for fighters.
A citizen of the Cherokee Nation, Mullin also made headlines Tuesday in an appearance on Fox News when he called for Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a possible challenger to Trump in 2020, to apologize for publicizing the results of a genetic test indicating a Native American ancestor.
“The heritage runs deep in my family,” Mullin said. “For her they’re just stories.”
Some Native American leaders were troubled by Warren’s use of a DNA test to claim Native heritage. The Cherokee Nation said the test was “inappropriate” and hurts the tribe’s interests in a statement Monday night.