There’s an added sense of mystery to this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 211 event at the APEX facility in Las Vegas as in an unprecedented move the promotion have barred both fans and media from attending the show on Saturday night.
When asked on Tuesday night by the media about the reason for this, Dana White gave an answer that no one believed.
“We just figured that you guys have been so busy lately we’d give you guy’s a night off,” White replied with a smirk. “You guys are here on Tuesdays, here on Saturdays. Kevin (Iole of Yahoo Sports) actually showed up today. We need to give you guys a break. You’re welcome. Stay home, order a pizza, watch the fights. Enjoy yourselves.”
So White is clearly keeping the real reason to his self for now, and that’s led to rampant speculation about what’s going on.
Due to his friendship with White, there’s been rumors that former president Donald Trump will be in attendance, although he actually showed up to UFC 264 last year and sat with fans, so that seems unlikely.
Some suggested that the UFC were going to do a big fight announcement, perhaps involving Jon Jones, but they’ve announced plenty of massive fights in the past without having to go to such measures, and it seems counter-intuitive to keep the fans and media at bay for this, and for it to occur on a relatively minor Fight Night card.
Perhaps closer to the truth is a rumor that Facebook / Meta owner Mark Zuckerberg may have something to do with it, and indeed headliner Mackenzie Dern appeared to let the cat out of the bag yesterday when she informed the media that he was going to be there.
“I know Mark Zuckerberg rented out the whole event,” Dern said. “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.”
“I’m excited. That just makes me more driven to put on a good show. 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.”
However, White has at least partially attempted to shut that rumor down, though it’s worth noting that he didn’t go as far as to say that Zuckerberg wouldn’t be there.
“Mark Zuckerberg did NOT rent out the UFC Apex. That’s total bullshit,” White wrote on Twitter.
Zuckerberg recently went viral when he posted a video of himself engaging in all aspects of MMA training, revealing that he’d been training in the sport since the pandemic as a way to stay fit and take his mind off his business ventures.
Zuckerberg also appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast recently and meanwhile Dana White had recently discussed on the Full Send podcast that the UFC were looking to broadcast a fight in ‘the metaverse’, which would be viewable in VR – likely via the Meta owned, market-leading Oculus Quest 2 platform.
“We’re looking to do a fight in the metaverse,” White had told Full Send. “We’ve been working on it for a while. It’ll be a live fight, an actual fight that takes place inside the metaverse. It’d be kids at home, you put on your (goggles) and you can (get) up and go walk around. We’re still working it out, but yeah, it’ll be soon. We’ll be doing a fight in the metaverse. It’ll be a real fight.”