According to New york Times: The day after Elon Musk challenged Mark Zuckerberg to a “cage match” on social media last month, Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championship, received a text.
It was from Mr. Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta. He asked Mr. White, who heads the world’s premier mixed martial arts event fought in a cage-like ring, whether Mr. Musk was serious about fighting.
Mr White called Mr Musk, who runs Tesla, Twitter and SpaceX, and confirmed he was ready to step down. After this Mr. White told that thing to Mr. Zuckerberg. In response, Mr Zuckerberg posted on Instagram: “Send me the location,” U.F.C. A reference to a quote by Khabib Nurmagomedov, one of America’s most iconic athletes.
Since then, Mr. White said, he has spoken separately to the tech billionaires each night to organize a demonstration. On Tuesday, he said, he was “on the phone with both of them until 12:45 in the morning.” He added, “They both want to do it.”
If you thought a cage fight between two of the richest men in the world was just a far-fetched social media stunt, think again. Over the past 10 days, Mr. White said that he, Mr. Musk and Mr. Zuckerberg have negotiated behind the scenes with the help of advisers and are heading for a physical fight.
Although there is no guarantee that the match will take place, a broad outline of an event is taking shape, said Mr White and three people with knowledge of the discussions. ImageDana White, president of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, stands with his hand on the shoulder of Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta. A U.F.C. The cage is behind them.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Meta, and Dana White, president of Ultimate Fighting Championship, in Las Vegas last year. The fight would be an exhibition match, Mr. White said, and outside official U.F.C. Jurisdiction and rights deals, though he will help make the event a success. Tech leaders have agreed there should be a charity component, said Mr. White and a person familiar with the talks, adding that the details are still being worked out.
The preferred location is Las Vegas, which requires approval from the Nevada Athletic Commission. On Thursday Mr Musk tweeted that the event could also take place at the Roman Colosseum. Mr. Zuckerberg’s friends and advisers have generally supported the match, said two people close to him, although others said the fight would be a distraction and not the best use of his time.
A person close to Mr Musk said that although he hated sports and did not have the discipline to train regularly, no one could rule out a possibility with him. If the competition between Mr. Musk, 52, and Mr. Zuckerberg, 39, goes ahead, it will be a rare spectacle even in the vanity-filled universe of the tech industry.
While Steve Jobs and Bill Gates sparred at each other before, the closest the tech world had come to a real sporting brawl was between billionaire tycoons like Oracle’s Larry Ellison and SAP’s Hasso Plattner.
But two wildly wealthy tech giants brawling, punching and kicking in Las Vegas or the Roman Arena? No one would have thought even in their dreams. Meta declined to comment. Mr Musk did not respond to a request for comment.
Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Musk have long been swinging between competitors, foes and outright enemies. The two have criticized each other over the years, including over Mr Musk’s SpaceX rocket, the data privacy scandal at Meta and more. Most recently, Mr. Zuckerberg sent a team to Meta to build a competitor to Mr. Musk’s Twitter, code-named Project 92.
If they take their rivalry beyond those brags, the U.F.C. Mr White said he has concerns about material differences between billionaires. In addition to their 13-year age difference, Mr. Musk is said to be at least 70 pounds heavier than Mr. Zuckerberg. In official mixed martial arts bouts, the athletes are usually matched at weight.
Mr. White said, “We have two guys who have never fought professionally, and they are in two completely different weight classes.” Still, he said, “It will be the biggest fight in the history of combat sports.”
Mr. Zuckerberg specifically U.F.C. are familiar with. World. Over the past 18 months, he has developed Brazilian Jujitsu, a grappling martial art in which competitors attempt to take down their opponent and which has been approved by the U.F.C. has been approved by embark on a personal journey to delve into.
Mr Zuckerberg began training on a lark in 2021 in his garage, where he created a “mini academy” with a group of friends who competed with him. He has said that he appreciates that Brazilian Jujitsu requires “100 percent focus” and strategic thinking, rather than brute strength, to defeat an opponent.
Mr. Zuckerberg has sought out martial arts experts including Dave Camarillo, James Terry and Khai Wu. In May, he participated in his first public martial arts tournament in Redwood City, California, which he attended in secret—until he took off his hat and sunglasses to fight. He won gold and silver medals in the challenge.
Last year, Meta also announced that it had acquired U.F.C. has been acquired. partnered with. To bring mixed martial arts fights to its virtual reality app, Horizon Worlds.
Mr. White said Mr. Zuckerberg was really dedicated to the game. “I’ve been talking to Zuckerberg for about two years now,” he said. “And there’s nothing like a joke or we’re joking and laughing.” He added that Meta’s chief executive was “very serious all the time”.
Mr. Zuckerberg is likely in fighting position. Two people close to him said he has been training hard, running and challenging friends and colleagues to beat his time. Last month, he posted a personal record for completing the “Murph” challenge, which required completing a series of pull-ups, push-ups, running several miles and doing hundreds of squats with weights. , Wearing military-grade body armor.
“I think doing sports that basically require your full attention has been really important for my mental health and to keep me focused on what I’m doing,” he said in a recent podcast episode. ” ,
Mr. Musk, on the other hand, has tweeted that he “almost never” exercises and once injured his back after participating in an exhibition with a sumo wrestler that required surgery. Last month, he said he trained in “judo, kyokushin (full contact)” – two Japanese martial arts – and “no rules streetfighting”.
“He made it very clear: ‘I’m not going to lose any weight,'” Mr. White said of Mr. Musk’s approach to the potential contest. “Are we going to fight or are we not going to fight?” Mr White said Mr Musk had told him.
This week, podcaster Lex Friedman posted photos of himself training judo with Mr. Musk. Mr. Friedman, who has also trained in jujitsu with Mr. Zuckerberg, did not respond to a request for comment.
It appears that at least one person isn’t a fan of the fight: Mae Musk, Mr. Musk’s mother. DO NOT ENCOURAGE THIS MATCH!” he tweeted recently with two despairing emojis.