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Fighters condemn a private UFC event sponsored by Mark Zuckerberg: Ignoring the unwashed masses?

In a first, no spectators nor journalists were permitted entry to UFC Vegas 61. Instead, it was held behind closed doors.

Dana White firmly denied the claim made by the evening's headlining act, Mackenzie Dern, that Facebook/Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg "rented out the whole event."

Wow, what a surprise. On Saturday night, the controversial social media mogul stood front and centre as the event got underway, with hardly anybody else in the space. Due to the context around the term "rent," White technically could not have lied, but everything else was true. It changed into a private gathering for Zuckerberg, who recently discovered BJJ and MMA.

There were essentially only the UFC and ESPN production crew and commission officials there, aside from Zuckerberg's tight group. Nobody from the media or even any fans attended.

This was not the case when the epidemic was at its worst and there were several lockdowns. This also didn't occur when prominent figures, like the US President, or A-list stars, were invited as special guests to UFC events.

One of the winners decided to seek Zuckerberg for some cash after essentially battling in a cage for the billionaire's weekend enjoyment.

“I know Mark from Facebook is here. You can throw in a bonus too, you know? Help us out,” Ilir Latifi said after beating Aleksei Oleinik.

As would be expected, there were a variety of responses from combatants and media members online. Some were upset that it was a private event organized for one of the world's richest individuals.

“Stay home bro wtf,” Al Iaquinta quipped as he noted how the crowd is the best part of UFC events.

Another former UFC title contender Nate Quarry commented on how Zuckerberg “can’t be bothered to be among the unwashed masses.”

Apart from the altered mood brought on by the absence of spectators, the absence of media representatives also prevented the post-fight news conference and media scrums, which reduced the exposure and attention these fighters would have otherwise gotten.


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