How do the world’s wealthiest men settle their differences? Most of them maintain teams of lawyers and sic the legal beagles on their adversaries. Then you have Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk. They are not your run of the mill rich guys.

They have threatened to resolve things the old fashioned way: going mano a mano, entering  into a mixed martial arts ring, and finding out who the is the real tough guy. Maybe money means less than pride to these titans, and perhaps that is what drives them.

The latest news has it that the improbable fight might be very much on. It will be an MMA match, not done through the UFC, but promising to be massive nevertheless. As Musk tweeted, “The fight will be managed by my and Zuck’s foundations.” Meta and X will be livestreaming the match, set to take place in Rome. “I spoke to the PM of Italy and Minister of Culture. They have agreed on an epic location.”

Now due to be settled, sometime in the near future, maybe (this thing is always in flux), their contretemps dates back to 2016,. That was when a rocket owned by Musk’s SpaceX botched a blastoff and failed to put one of Zuckerberg’s satellites into space. In the process, the satellite got wrecked and Zuckerberg expressed his displeasure on Facebook. Musk later tweeted that Zuckerberg’s “understanding of [AI] is limited.”

Jabs intensified and seemed to reach a head this past June, erasing all doubt as to whether Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are friends. That was when Musk tweeted at Zuckerberg, “I’m up for a cage match if he is.” Zuckerberg responded, “Send Me Location.”

At the time, it seemed that Musk might have overplayed his hand. No ordinary geek with a desk-sitter’s physique and stamina, Zuckerberg was already working hard to hone his fighting skills. The 38-year-old billionaire had been training in jiu jitsu and competed in his first legit match in May. The results were better than expected. The showdown near Silicon Valley yielded one gold medal and one silver medal for the tech magnate.

His performance did not go unnoticed. No less a light than Conor McGregor posted to Facebook, “Yo!!! F***ing awesome Mark!”

In July, Zuckerberg showed off what Musk would be up against. He posed shirtless with fellow fighters, posting it to social media and looking just as ripped as they are. He even trained with UFC stars Israel Adesanya and Alex Volkansvi.

Other big names in UFC, pushing to see the fight come off, took the opposite side.

Jorge Masvidal made clear that he resides on Team Elon. Through TMZ Sports, he told the rocketing kingpin, “Elon, you need me on your team, brother! … If you’re going to war, right, you’re going to want the snipers, you’re going to want everything.”

Musk wound up teaming with Georges St-Pierre to prep for the proposed fight, crazy as it all sounds. St-Pierre seems to be taking the training of Musk seriously and he’s impressed by his fighter’s strengths and desires. “I think he’s very strong, much stronger than the average man,” St-Pierre told Lex Fridman. “And he’s got a lot of heart. He’s very tough.”

While there’s been no shortage of back and forth, and in and out, where the fight is concerned, Zuck and Musk have reportedly agreed that money generated from their punch-up will be donated to US veterans’ organizations. Though Zuckerberg has complained about Musk not being committed to it happening and expressed doubts that the fight will occur, UFC boss Dana White seems bullish on the bout. 

Speaking with TMZ about Musk meeting Zuckerberg in the ring, he said that the two would-be warriors were “absolutely deadly serious.”

Let’s hope so.


Michael Kaplan is a journalist based in New York City. He has written extensively on gambling for publications such as Wired, Playboy, Cigar Aficionado, New York Post and New York Times.

He is the author of four books including Aces and Kings: Inside Stories and Million-Dollar Strategies from Poker’s Greatest Players. He’s been known to do a bit of gambling when the timing seems right.