A clash of the tech giants could be on the cards if Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are as good as their fighting talk with each other.
Tesla, SpaceX and X – formerly known as Twitter – boss Musk has said he wants a showdown with Zuckerberg, whose Meta conglomerate encompasses Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
The potential punch-up between the mega-wealthy moguls could take place in 2023, with one spectacular setting suggested to host the brawl.
What are the chances of the fight happening? How have ‘Musk’ and ‘Zuck’ been training? Here’s what we know.
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Musk vs Zuck: Will Elon Musk vs. Mark Zuckerberg fight happen?
Musk and Zuckerberg are known for their long-running rivalry over their various businesses and projects, and the idea of settling their differences physically first arose when Musk mentioned a “cage match” in June 2023.
Zuckerberg told Musk to “send me location” – a phrase made famous by former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who used it to state his readiness to fight.
Mark Zuckerberg responds to Elon Musk saying he’s down for a cage fight ????
“Send me location” pic.twitter.com/NE4mL8l4po
— Culture Crave ???? (@CultureCrave) June 21, 2023
The acrimony has been ramped up by Meta’s creation of Threads, which is designed as a direct challenge to Musk’s X.
There had been talk of UFC boss Dana White being involved in organising the fight. But in an update on August 11 on X, Musk said the event would be managed by his and Zuckerberg’s foundations rather than the MMA promotion. “Livestream will be on this platform and Meta,” he added.
Later, Musk said the fight may be months away due to required surgery. On the weekend of August 12, he discussed the idea of the two sparring one another in a training session.
Zuckerberg responded by saying, “I think we can all agree Elon isn’t serious and it’s time to move on. I offered a real date. Dana White offered to make this a legit competition for charity. Elon won’t confirm a date, then says he needs surgery, and now asks to do a practice round in my backyard instead. If Elon ever gets serious about a real date and official event, he knows how to reach me. Otherwise, time to move on. I’m going to focus on competing with people who take the sport seriously.”
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As of now, the fight appears to be off, if it ever was going to happen in the first place.
This is the full message: pic.twitter.com/UzbKoIkFOc
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 13, 2023
Colosseum: Will Musk vs. Zuckerberg take place in Italy?
The first mention of the iconic Colosseum as a potential venue for the fight was made by Musk in June, and his latest announcement appears to suggest that it is literally very much in the frame.
“Everything in camera frame will be ancient Rome, so nothing modern at all,” said Musk. “I spoke to the [prime minister] of Italy [Giorgia Meloni] and Minister of Culture [Gennaro Sangiuliano]. They have agreed on an epic location.”
Need to work on my endurancehttps://t.co/jjh7uxfwC6
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 30, 2023
In June, TMZ quoted the department as saying any event would have to be “non-violent” – but also cited a source as saying the country’s ministry of culture had made an approach to Zuckerberg because it wanted to host a fight.
Upcoming maintenance of the arena planned by the ministry, however, means that an imminent bout there is unfeasible, Politico reported.
Should the fight not take place at the Colosseum, another potential venue is the UFC Octagon in Las Vegas, which Musk hinted at in June.
Elon Musk training: Can he match Mark Zuckerberg in MMA?
Perhaps the most pressing question around the abilities of the would-be adversaries is whether Musk can catch up with Zuckerberg’s relatively deep experience in MMA.
Zuckerberg collected two medals at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament held at a Silicon Valley high school in California earlier in 2023, he said on Facebook.
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Two-time UFC champion Conor McGregor was among those to respond to the post, and Zuckerberg has also posted a topless photo of himself training with MMA champions Israel Adesanya and Alex Volkanovski.
In August, Musk stepped up his preparations by taking part in a training session with revered former UFC fighter and Hall of Famer Georges St-Pierre in a session he said had been “fun” but highlighted his need to train.
Musk has also said on X that he “may require surgery” before the fight can happen, having had an MRI scan on his neck and upper back.
Elon Musk shirtless
In July 2022, Musk was photographed shirtless on a yacht while he was on holiday in the Aegean Sea. “Damn, maybe I should take off my shirt more often,” he laughed in response to the snap.
Musk has previously said that he rarely works out, but his upbringing appears to have steeled him for the potential demands of combat.
I have this great move that I call “The Walrus”, where I just lie on top of my opponent & do nothing
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 22, 2023
“I’ve been in real hard-core street fights,” Musk told Full Send Podcast in the same year. “I got beaten up real badly in a few of them, actually.
“I grew up in South Africa. It’s a very violent place. It’ll certainly toughen you up, that’s for sure.”
Mark Zuckerberg age: How old is he compared with Elon Musk?
Zuckerberg is the younger man, at 39, while Musk is a veteran by comparison, having celebrated his 52nd birthday in June.
Describing the experience of watching Zuckerberg compete, his trainer, Kai Wu, said it was “pretty epic”. “No match was easy,” he said.
“Everything was earned. It was an honour to be able to help coach and offer any advice I could.”
Elon Musk net worth: The richest man in the world
Musk is widely reported to be the richest man in the world, with financial site Forbes putting his net worth at $225.1 billion in August 2023.
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His best-known companies before he bought X were electric car maker Tesla, rocket producer SpaceX, and startup Boring Company.
Twitter’s board agreed to sell to Musk for $44 billion in April 2022, and the deal was completed in October despite Musk attempting to withdraw.
Mark Zuckerberg net worth: Value of Meta CEO
Business and markets oracular Bloomberg valued Zuckerberg at $111.1 billion in August 2023.
The New York-born entrepreneur launched the initial iteration of Facebook in 2004 and has since become one of the richest and most influential people in the world.
He is Chairman and CEO of Meta, the company Facebook Inc became in 2021.