- Mark Zuckerberg has taken to improving his physique as he gets more interested in jiu-jitsu.
- A referee from a tournament Zuckerberg participated in talked to The New York Times.
- Zuckerberg’s passion for the sport coincides with some challenging times for Meta.
The road to Mark Zuckerberg’s gold and silver medals at a recent jiu-jitsu tournament apparently came with a few bumps, according to a new report.
José Lucas Costa da Silva, a veteran Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter in his own right, told the New York Times that he stopped a match involving Zuckerberg in May when he heard the Facebook founder begin to snore after he’d been placed in a chokehold.
Costa da Silva told the Times that he thought Zuckerberg had been choked out to the point of unconsciousness, but Zuckerberg later said that wasn’t true after the story had been published. The Times updated its story to reflect his statement.
A Meta spokesperson also told Insider that Zuckerberg wasn’t choked out. “At no point during the competition was Mark knocked unconscious. That never happened,” she said in a statement.
A coach who works with Zuckerberg, Dave Camarillo, also told the Times that the Meta chief hadn’t lost consciousness. He told the times that Costa da Silva might have mistaken Zuckerberg’s grunting noises for snores.
Costa da Silva, meanwhile, told the Times that the tech billionaire was a “good sport” throughout the tournament and was “enjoying the moment.”
The report on the apparent chokehold comes after Zuckerberg posted a carefully edited video last year of him sparring with a mixed martial arts fighter, Khai Wu.
“Yo!! Fucking awesome Mark,” commented Conor McGregor on the clip, echoing praise from a number of other UFC fighters.
Zuckerberg entered the tournament in Brazil in May and successfully took home two medals. His interest in jiu-jitsu, which is just one component of mixed martial arts — a fighting style that incorporates boxing, wrestling, Muay Thai, and karate, among other techniques — was made public back in August 2022, on an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience.
“I really like watching UFC because I also like doing the sport,” Zuckerberg told Joe Rogan. “There’s something that’s so primal about it.”
Zuckerberg’s foray into jiu-jitsu has occurred as Meta is undergoing a tumultuous period.
With an estimated 21,000 employees to be affected by layoffs, Meta has also made a sharp turn from its initial pro-remote work culture and is now requiring most employees to come into the office three times per week.
Aside from layoffs, Zuckerberg is also taking a more hardline approach to messaging, stating that he wants the company to get to a “scrappier place.”
Meanwhile, the catalyst of his company’s rebrand from Facebook to Meta, which would be confidence in the metaverse as a viable product, is being counted out by some before it really began.
Still, Zuckerberg intends to keep trucking on with the metaverse, and it doesn’t look like his jiu-jitsu will be put on pause anytime soon either — knockouts be damned.
Update: June 3, 2023 — This story has been updated to reflect a statement from a Meta spokesperson who said Mark Zuckerberg didn’t lose consciousness at a recent jiu-jitsu tournament; Zuckerberg and his coach also told The New York Times in an updated story that he hadn’t lost consciousness.