The media was shut out from Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 211 card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Earlier in the week, credentialed media members were able to attend Wednesday’s media day for the event, as well as Friday’s official weigh-ins and faceoffs. But it already had been announced by the UFC that they wouldn’t be allowed to cover the fights themselves.
The hot rumor was that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg would be in attendance – and for that reason, the only media there would be in the form of the UFC’s broadcast partner, ESPN, which aired the fights on ESPN+.
Even headliner Mackenzie Dern said as much during her media day interview. “”I know Mark Zuckerberg rented out the whole event,” Dern said.
The way she put it caused UFC president Dana White to go into defensive mode and he tweeted that Zuckerberg “did NOT rent out the UFC Apex. That’s total bullsh*t.”
Saturday in Las Vegas, though, few were surprised to see Zuckerberg sitting cageside in the background during the fights.
The UFC even reposted an Instagram post from Zuckerberg in which he thanked White for inviting him to the fights. With him in the picture, along with his wife, was Melinda Davenport, an internal communications director for Meta, the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and several other brands.
Zuckerberg’s presence called into question whether or not White was untruthful. And in a technical sense, he wasn’t, so far as anyone knows. If Zuckerberg was there by invitation, then Dern’s claim that he rented the venue out was inaccurate. White merely said he didn’t rent it out – not that he wouldn’t be there.
But his appearance leads to bigger questions, such as why he was there for this particular event, and why him being there necessitated the rare and arguably troublesome decision to shut out the media from attendance.
Zuckerberg is one of the richest people in the world with a net worth in the neighborhood of $50 billion.