On its face, the idea that two adult billionaires plan to pummel each other on live TV sounds like a joke — surely no real person would risk such utter public humiliation? And yet, available evidence suggests that it’s happening: Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk want to fight in a cage. The MMA-industrial complex is publicly salivating at a golden ratings opportunity. Italy has reportedly offered to host (in the Colosseum, no less). As if to confirm that this is all real, Musk’s mother Maye is begging her son to stop this nonsense right now, appearing to anticipate that this spectacle would not look good for anyone. Which, of course, is why the show must go on. They want to mash their pale bodies together while the world watches? They are volunteering to engage in sweaty amateur combat, in service of their hubris and our entertainment? Who am I to tell them no? Let us see, once and for all, who is the bigger, stronger boy.
Reviewing the timeline of events, a physical confrontation between these two may actually be overdue. Musk and Zuckerberg have been beefing over their respective tech empires since at least 2016. That year, a SpaceX rocket carrying a Facebook-owned satellite failed to launch, destroying the satellite and spurring both billionaires to some mild trash talk: Zuckerberg belittling Musk’s fear of killer AI robots while smoking meat in his backyard; Musk dunking on Zuck’s beloved Instagram while smoking a blunt on Joe Rogan’s podcast. But recent reports that Zuckerberg plans to launch his own version of Twitter — a “sanely run” alternative, as one Meta exec put it — have nudged things into catty territory. Correctly interpreting this aside as a comment on Twitter’s spectacular implosion under Musk’s leadership, Musk has made his displeasure known.
“I’m sure Earth can’t wait to be exclusively under Zuck’s thumb with no other options. At least it will be ‘sane.’ Was worried there for a moment,” he scoffed in response to a Twitter thread on the rumored Meta project. When a user reminded him that Zuckerberg has taken up jujitsu, Musk threw down the gauntlet: “I’m up for a cage match if he is lol.”
News of the challenge apparently made it to Meta HQ, where Zuckerberg issued his answer not on Twitter — naturally neither of these men would to deign post on the other’s social media platform — but on his Instagram Stories. “Send me location,” he said, to everyone, no one, and Musk in particular. Back on Twitter, Musk suggested the “Vegas Octagon,” a major UFC venue in Las Vegas, and threatened to “walrus” Zuck into submission. Though the latter gave no further response, the details appear to be firming up.
A cage fight, for those who may be wondering, is exactly what it sounds like: two grown men grappling at each other’s limbs inside the confines of a fenced-in octagon. The prerequisites for entering the ring are minimal, and both modern-day gladiators appear to meet them. Zuckerberg is by no means shaking in his toe-shoes here — he’s a CrossFit freak and, as mentioned, has been training in Brazilian jujitsu for 18 months, a pastime he describes as “primal.” In May, he managed to win a tournament held at a California high school, where he competed in the featherweight division. Meanwhile, at approximately six-foot-two, Musk has a size advantage over the small and stringbean-y Zuckerberg. He appears to be hitting the gym as well: While disgraced edgelord Andrew Tate, who’s currently facing human trafficking and rape charges in Romania, generously offered to coach him, Musk went with the less controversial George St-Pierre, a celebrated former MMA artist who threw his hat in the ring for the job on (where else?) Twitter. Confusingly, both men seem to be practicing with podcaster and jujitsu black belt Lex Fridman. Here is Fridman, getting his face smushed into the ground with all Musk’s veiny might:
As you can see, many in the martial arts world are taking this overzealous display seriously — up to and including UFC president Dana White, who claims to have held a 1.5-hour conference call with Zuckerberg and Musk. According to White, each sounded “absolutely dead serious” about getting in the ring, laying the groundwork for what could, in White’s estimation, become “the biggest fight ever, in the history of the world” and “break all pay-per-view records” in the process.
If my own enthusiasm for this match offers a reliable metric, White is correct: two men, both alike in bluster, slapping each other silly entirely of their own volition? Without even forcing us to participate, as is almost never the case with their intrusive pet projects? Sign me the hell up. Between the havoc Zuckerberg’s company has wreaked on privacy law, the media job market, and our political landscape, and taking into account Musk’s general trollery, we are all pounding our fists, eager to see these clowns deliver one another’s comeuppance.
Perhaps sensing this, Elon’s father, Errol Musk, has all but commanded his son to stand down. Even for Errol, a man who had two kids with his former stepdaughter, a Musk-Zuck smackdown lands squarely in his “bad choice” box. It’s a “no-win situation for Elon,” he explained, immediately firing up my brain’s pleasure sensors. “If Elon beats this guy, Elon will be called a bully, being so much heavier and taller, while if he loses the humiliation would be total.”
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!