This Saturday's UFC Fight Night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas will be different because it will be closed to the public and the media.
UFC president Dana White told ESPN's Brett Okamoto on Tuesday that he simply wanted to give the media "a night off." However, strawweight fighter Mackenzie Dern told reporters on Wednesday that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to rent out the event, which is why it is being canceled.
"I know Mark Zuckerberg rented out the whole event," Dern said at media day in Las Vegas. "I know he'll be there, but I don't know if it's literally him, his wife or if he'll have friends--some type of party. But from someone who wanted a main event with a crowd, [it's now] going to be very, very private."
Dern (12-2) will compete in the main event of Saturday's fight card against China's Yan Xiaonan (15-3). Despite the fact that she won't have any fans cheering her on, Dern said it hasn't changed her mindset about the fight.
"I'm excited. That just makes me more driven to put on a good show," she said. "I know everyone is watching on TV, but for Mark and whoever is going to be there, put on a show. If that's what they want to see, is a show, then we're going to give a show."
Regular media members were notified earlier this week that press credentials for Saturday's event would not be issued. The UFC has not released an official explanation for the decision, but White stated on Tuesday that there is "no big secret" behind it.
ESPN’s Brett Okamoto pointed out that Zuckerberg is an MMA fan who recently posted a video of himself doing some drills. The 38-year-old is probably one of the few people who can rent out an entire UFC event.
Do you guys think it is right for a huge global personality to influence such an important fight card due to his stature? Will it compromise the focus of the fighters performing that night? Let us know in the comments.