UFC Vegas 61 is set to take place on Oct. 1 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada. The card will be headlined by the women’s strawweight bout between top-ranked contenders Mackenzie Dern and Xiaonan Yan. Dern goes into the bout looking to extend her winning run after beating Tecia Torres in April. Yan will look to get back on the winning column after dropping two in a row to Marina Rodriguez and the reigning 115-pound titleholder Carla Esparza.
Ahead of the upcoming event, the UFC announced that it would be closed to the public and media without giving a proper explanation.
Mark Zuckerberg, Meta’s chief executive office, was theorized to be linked to the unexpected move. Zuckerberg has been gaining momentum in the MMA community with his recent training clips with professional fighter Khai Wu. He also made headlines for his appearance on the popular podcast show, “Joe Rogan Experience,” where he opened up about his admiration and newfound passion for combat sports.
There was speculation that Zuckerberg might have something to do with the card being private, and Dern added fuel to fire when she claimed that he was the reason why this weekend’s event was off limits.
White took to his Twitter on Sep. 28 to dismiss the rumors that Zuckerberg rented out the entire show.
“Mark Zuckerberg did NOT rent out the UFC Apex. That’s total bullshit,” he wrote.
Dern Claimed Mark Zuckerberg Booked the Venue on the Night
During Wednesday’s pre-fight media day, Dern told reporters that Zuckerberg made plans to attend the event. Although she did not know the details, she made a bold claim about Zuckerberg’s involvement.
“I know Mark Zuckerberg rented out the whole event,” Dern said (via ESPN). “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.”
Dern added: “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.”
White Says There’s No Big Secret
At this past Tuesday’s post-fight press conference for “Dana White’s Contender Series,” White talked about closing off UFC Fight Night 211, joking that there was no big secret behind the restriction in a brief response.
“Oh, we just figured that you guys have been so busy lately, we’d give you guys a night off,” White said via Sportskeeda. “Guys, you’re here on Tuesdays, you’re here on Saturdays. Kevin [journalist] actually showed up today. I mean, we gotta give you guys a break. So, you’re welcome.”
White added, “You guys should stay home, order a pizza, watch the fights, take them in and enjoy yourselves.”