Elon Musk vs Mark Zuckerberg in the Roman Colosseum: Two bad new emperors

Elon Musk tweeted that he might face Mark Zuckerberg in the Roman Colosseum.

By: Nate Wilcox | 1 month ago

Dana White is the go-between putting the fight together

Twitter, Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been in daily contact with UFC and PowerSlap CEO Dana White, according to The New York Times. White is playing intermediary with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg whom he hopes to book in a UFC fight in the legendary Octagon. Or as The NYT calls it a “cage-like ring.”

Tuesday, Dana White told The NYT, was “on the phone with those two until 12:45 in the morning.” He added, “They both want to do it.”

This testimony of Dana White, a man who promotes fights for a living, is enough for The NYT to declare, “If you thought that a cage fight between two of the world’s richest men was just a far-fetched social media stunt, think again.”

Zuckerberg’s friends mostly supportive, Musk’s less so

This paragraph is just too sweet not to share in full. I have to wonder who the ‘one person close to Mr. Musk’ is. I’m guessing it’s not Elon Musk’s ex-girlfriend, Grimes.

“Mr. Zuckerberg’s friends and advisers have generally supported the match, two people close to him said, though others said a fight would be a distraction and not the best use of his time. One person close to Mr. Musk said that while he hated sports and didn’t appear to have the discipline to train regularly, no one could rule anything out with him.”

Even Dana White has some reservations. “We have two guys that have never professionally fought, and they’re in two completely different weight classes,” Mr. White said. Still, he said, “it will be the biggest fight in the history of combat sports.”

Zuckerberg ‘dead serious all the time’

Dana White also unintentionally highlights at least one massive difference between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk’s approach to “the fight.”

“I’ve been talking to Zuckerberg now for maybe close to two years now,” Dana told the NYT. “And there’s never like banter or we’re joking and laughing.” He said the Meta chief executive was “dead serious all the time.”

Zuckerberg has been training seriously since at least 2021 and has brought in professional coaches like Dave Camarillo. Camarillo is a well-known judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt who trained under the legendary Ralph Gracie before coaching UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez among others. He also quoted a meme associated with UFC legend Khabib Nurmagomedov in his response to Dana’s initial enquiry: “Send me location.”

The Roman Colosseum, really?

Cynics and wags point out that the UFC is contracted with Meta to bring MMA to Zuckerberg’s Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality app. But perhaps that would be too cynical of a rug pull even for these guys.

Dana White being Dana White, he initially suggested Las Vegas as the natural place to hold the fight. Apparently he is confident that the Nevada Athletic Commission will sanction a cage fight between two middle-aged men with no professional fighting experience. Oh well, they did sanction Power Slap when virtually no other commission would.

No need to count on them though, Elon Musk has a plan b:

Comparisons to anything but bad Roman Emperors fall short

This would all be so much funnier and light-hearted if these two were not among the very wealthiest oligarchs of one of the most unequal eras in human history. Bloomberg is reporting that they’re getting richer by the day.

“Musk, the world’s richest person, added $96.6 billion to his net worth this year through June 30, while Meta Platforms Inc. CEO Zuckerberg gained $58.9 billion.”

The only apt comparison I can come up with is Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix in Gladiator. Commodus is commonly credited with ending the “Golden Age” of Imperial Rome. I’m referring to the period of “Five Good Emperors”: Nerva ,Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius who together booked back-to-back reigns from 96 AD to 180 AD that saw the Roman empire reach its peak of power and prosperity.

Commodus brought a quick end to that and a big part of his recipe for anti-success was delegating important duties to the palace chamberlain and a succession of “favorites” so he could concentrate on the really important stuff: fighting in the Colosseum.

Wikipedia sums it up nicely: “He was not an inspired combatant. He killed animals by bow, standing above the arena. When he fought fellow gladiators, they would purposely submit. It would have led to crucifixion, at best, for killing the emperor. During this period Rome’s economy was badly crippled.”

Fortunately, Musk and Zuckerberg have not yet been officially declared living gods with the power of life and death over every citizen of the empire, but given how much time we spend on their social media platforms maybe that’s just a formality.

Or maybe Idiocracy nailed it after all

CNN’s S.E. Cupp sums up the Elon Musk vs Mark Zuckerberg dumbness pretty well:

“…this could not be a better metaphor for where America is today. While we’re confronting countless, very real threats to our own survival, including climate change, the rise of artificial intelligence, global pandemics and nuclear proliferation, these two guys are getting ready to physically fight each other, just to soothe their overweening egos.

“It’s almost as if almost the 2006 Mike Judge movie, Idiocracy was a documentary. In that searing and scathing social satire on anti-intellectualism, the President of the United States is literally a former pro-wrestler and porn star. After rejecting intellectualism for decades, the country’s gotten so dumb, it’s watering its crops with a Bronto of fictional sports drink. Punishment comes in the form of execution via a monster truck demolition derby. What’s alarming is, this doesn’t sound all that crazy today. Especially not when two of our foremost thought leaders are resorting to a dim witted Battle of the Bulge to settle personal scores.”

Maybe Musk is training after all

Was just about to wrap this up when I saw this tweet featuring Elon Musk with UFC legend Georges St-Pierre. Oh lord, this might actually happen.

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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