The conflict between tech billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg appears to be heating up as Musk leaked text messages from Zuckerberg asking that they either get serious and stage a fight or drop the matter. The pair began speaking of a mixed martial arts (MMA) battle weeks ago when Zuckerberg posted online clips of his MMA training.
The Facebook founder is training in Jiu-Jitsu and successfully completed his first competitive bouts in May. This prompted Musk to challenge him to a fight, and the potential battle caught the attention of Ultimate Fighting Champion (UFC) president Dana White, who offered to stage the event and even contacted authorities in Italy to see if the ancient Colosseum in Rome could be the venue.
Italy’s Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano confirmed he had discussed hosting the bout as a charity event that could generate millions of dollars. However, he ruled out the Colosseum and said, “We are thinking about how to organize a great charity and historical evocation event, respecting and fully protecting the setting. It will not take place in Rome.”
In the latest battle in the war of words, Musk posted a screenshot of a text from Zuckerberg saying he did not want to keep hyping something that would never happen, so they need to take it seriously or drop it. Musk replied that he would fight the Meta CEO in his own fighting ring and later called him a “chicken” on Twitter.
Musk and Zuckerberg both have a history of martial arts training, and the South African-born Tesla chief has trained in Taekwondo, Kyokushin Karate, and Judo. He has even challenged Russian President Vladimir Putin to fight him instead of attacking Ukraine. In March, Musk tweeted, “I hereby challenge Vladimir Putin to single combat. Stakes are Ukraine.” He followed it up with another tweet, encouraging the Russian leader to respond, but he has yet to do so. Mr. Putin has a black belt in Taekwondo.