A billionaire needs to keep busy. In addition to surfing, allegedly poisoning political discourse and smoking meats, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg has turned to the mats to occupy his mind.
“How did I not know about it till right now?” Zuckerberg said on a recent episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. Sitting with the podcaster for nearly three hours discussing topics from VR to the government, the tech mogul described finding his way into martial arts during the pandemic.
“Since COVID, I got super into surfing and foiling, and then really into MMA. I know a lot of people who do it. There’s actually this really interesting connection between people who surf and do jiu-jitsu,” he said. Collecting references from friends and colleagues, Zuckerberg found his way to BJJ/Judo black belt Dave Camarillo’s gym, Guerilla Jiu Jitsu. A former student under Ralph Gracie, Camarillo has coached grappling in California for the better part of 20 years.
A lifelong athlete, Zuckerberg went on to bemoan his failure to start grappling years ago.
“My mom made me do three varsity sports and my life took a wrong turn when I chose to do fencing competitively instead of wrestling in high school or something,” he said. “There’s something so primal about it, I don’t know.” Typical of grappling converts, Zuckerberg has since pushed many of his friends into the sport as well. “Since then I’ve just introduced a bunch of my friends to it—we train together, and we like, wrestle together, and there’s a certain intensity to it that I like.”
Before taking it up himself, Facebook joined fellow internet giant in offering free grappling classes to employees. Tapping BJJ brand Hyperfly, Facebook threw in some customized gis to sweeten the deal. “There’s a lot of good parallels for philosophy of life and, like foiling and surfing, jiu-jitsu, MMA, I think it sort of teaches you about the flow and momentum of things,” he said.
Since the interview, many have wondered if Zuckerberg would dip his toes into the other half of MMA and mix in some striking. We got our answer when he posted a short video to Instagram earlier today, featuring Zuckerberg and MMA Prospect Khai Wu getting rounds in. Wearing gloves and shin guards, Zuckerberg displayed a basic grasp of submissions off his back, takedown defense and what I’m told are punches and kicks.
Look out Ashton Kutcher, I guess.
Wu makes his UFC Fight Pass debut on Urijah Faber’s A1 Combat tonight at 7 pm PST.