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Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk privately ripped each other for years before ‘cage match’ challenge: report

A cage match between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg would mark the culmination of a years-long rivalry between the two that has reportedly played out behind closed doors.

Zuckerberg, who recently won his first amateur Brazilian jiujitsu tournament, set social media ablaze this week after he accepted the 51-year-old Twitter owner’s offer with a simple message: “send me location.”

Musk and Zuckerberg have had “a simmering feud for years,” with each grumbling about the other in private as well as taking occasional potshots in the public forum, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources who have heard the billionaires’ respective complaints.

Musk, who has been “cash poor for years” due to his wealth being largely tied up in Tesla stock, has reportedly “brooded that Zuckerberg had made so much money so easily with software while he toiled away on electric cars and space rockets,” the Journal reported.

Zuckerberg has also resented Musk behind the scenes and “pined for the kind of innovator esteem that Musk received,” sources told the outlet.

Mark Zuckerberg is an avid MMA fan.

The latest spat between the Silicon Valley giants stemmed from Meta’s plans to build a text-based competitor to Twitter. Musk initially challenged Zuckerberg in response to a post that quoted at Meta executive as saying the company’s version of a Twitter-like app would be “sanely run.”

After Zuckerberg accepted the challenge, Musk further stirred the pot by tweeting that his “location” was a “Vegas Octagon” – an apparent reference to UFC’s Apex Arena in Las Vegas. He also joked about his patented move “that I call “The Walrus”, where I just lie on top of my opponent & do nothing.”

While Zuckerberg’s obsession with jiujitsu has been well-documented, Musk is no slouch when it comes to combat sports.

Musk claimed to have trained in Kyokushin karate, taekwondo and judo during his childhood, as well as “Brazilian jiu-jitsu briefly.” He once posted a photo of himself battling a sumo wrestler.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk once posted a picture of himself battling a sumo wrestler.
Twitter/Elon Musk

It’s unclear if Musk and Zuckerberg will actually follow through on the fight, but their social media spat has already prompted endless chatter among social media users on how would win.

UFC President Dana White told TMZ that he spoke to both tech moguls and claimed they are “absolutely dead serious” about squaring off for bragging rights.

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg responded to Musk’s challenge by asking for a location.

The possibility of a public brawl appeared to spook Musk’s mother, the supermodel Maye Musk, who quipped that they should “fight with words only. In armchairs. 4 feet apart. The funniest person wins.”

“Actually, I canceled the fight. I haven’t told them yet. But I will continue to say the fight is canceled, just in case,” Maye Musk added.

Fellow tech billionaire Sam Altman of OpenAI also chimed in, telling Bloomberg that he “would go watch if he and Zuck actually did that.”

In the recent past, the interactions between Zuckerberg and Musk haven’t been entirely negative.

Elon Musk
Elon Musk owns Twitter.

During a recent appearance on “The Lex Fridman Podcast,” Zuckerberg praised Musk for leading a major cost-cutting effort at Twitter that resulted in thousands of layoffs following his $44 billion takeover of the company last year.

“Elon led a push early on to make Twitter a lot leaner,” Zuckerberg said. “I think that those were generally good changes.”

Mark Zuckerberg
Mark Zuckerberg is CEO of Meta.
Getty Images

Zuckerberg has recently lead his own budget-tightening initative at Meta, which has laid off approximately 21,000 during what the longtime boss has described as a “year of efficiency” at the firm.

Zuckerberg’s plan included a move to “flatten” the ranks of middle management at Meta by either reassigning them to lesser roles or forcing them out entirely.

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