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Avoiding the unwashed masses? - Fighter slams Mark Zuckerberg’s private UFC event

One of the winners from the event asked him for money.

Mark Zuckerberg had a private UFC showing. Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

In an unprecedented move, UFC Vegas 61 became a closed door event, without fans or even media members allowed to attend.

When headliner Mackenzie Dern previously announced it was due to Facebook/Meta head Mark Zuckerberg having “rented out the whole event,” Dana White immediately issued a strong denial.

Surprise, surprise. As the event started on Saturday night, the controversial social media mogul was seen front and center, with barely anyone else in the venue. Technically, White may not have lied due to the circumstances around the word “rent,” but everything else was accurate. It became a closed door event catered to Zuckerberg, who happens to be a new BJJ and MMA fan.

Apart from Zuckerberg’s inner circle, it was pretty much just the UFC and ESPN production team and commission members. No fans or even media members were in attendance.

This didn’t happen during the height of the pandemic and all the lockdowns. This didn’t happen when A-list celebrities or even the US President attended UFC events as special guests either.

After basically fighting in a cage for the billionaire’s weekend entertainment, one of the winners decided to ask Zuckerberg for some money.

“I know Mark from Facebook is here. You can throw in a bonus too, you know? Help us out,” Ilir Latifi said after beating Aleksei Oleinik.

As expected, there were also mixed reactions from fighters and media members online, with some not happy about it being a private event set up for one of the richest people on earth.

“Stay home bro wtf,” Al Iaquinta quipped as he noted how the crowd is the best part of UFC events.

Another former UFC title contender Nate Quarry commented on how Zuckerberg “can’t be bothered to be among the unwashed masses.”

Apart from the change of atmosphere without a crowd, media members not being allowed meant the post-fight press conference and media scrums were also scrapped, lessening the exposure and spotlight these fighters would’ve otherwise received during the event.