The long-awaited showdown between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg is set to take place in Italy, according to the latest updates from the tech titans. The two billionaires have been challenging each other to a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage match since June, when Musk tweeted that he was “up for a cage fight” with Zuckerberg, who replied with “send location”.
Ancient Rome theme for charity event
On Friday, Musk announced on his social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that he had spoken to the Italian prime minister and culture minister and had agreed on an “epic location” for the fight. He said that everything in the camera frame would be ancient Rome, so nothing modern at all. He also said that the fight would be managed by his and Zuckerberg’s foundations and that all proceeds would go to veterans’ organizations.
Zuckerberg, who is a martial arts enthusiast and has won jiujitsu tournaments, responded on his Threads platform, a rival to X, that he was ready to fight and that he would work with a professional organization such as the UFC to create a line-up that showcases elite athletes in the sport. He also posted a photo of himself shirtless and pinning down an opponent in his “backyard octagon”.
However, the exact date and venue of the fight have not been revealed yet. The Italian culture minister, Gennaro Sangiuliano, confirmed that he had spoken to Musk about hosting a “great charity and historical evocation event” in Italy, but said that it would not take place in Rome. He also said that a substantial amount of money, many millions of euros, would be donated to two Italian pediatric hospitals for strengthening facilities and scientific research to combat children’s diseases.
A clash of egos or a publicity stunt?
The idea of a cage fight between Musk and Zuckerberg has sparked a lot of interest and speculation among the public and the media. Some see it as a clash of egos between two of the most influential and controversial figures in the tech industry, who have often disagreed on various issues such as artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency, and social media regulation. Others see it as a publicity stunt to promote their respective platforms and brands, or as a way to raise money and awareness for charitable causes.
Whatever the motivation behind the challenge, the fight is expected to generate huge attention and revenue. The UFC boss Dana White said this week that he believed the fight could make $1 billion in revenue. He also said that he had spoken to the Italian culture ministry about staging the fight in the Colosseum, the ancient Roman arena where gladiators fought two millennia ago. However, this idea was ruled out by the Italian authorities, who said that they would respect and safeguard their heritage sites.
Italy has many other historic sites that could host the fight, such as the Capua amphitheatre, the Pompeii ruins, the Agrigento temples, or the Verona arena. However, some critics have questioned the appropriateness of using Italy’s cultural heritage for such an event. Carlo Calenda, an opposition politician and former industry minister, said that he found it “mind-boggling” that Italy’s cultural heritage was being made available to two billionaires who want to indulge themselves like foolish teenagers.