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Musk vs. Zuckerberg: Italy Wants to Host Cage Match but Not in Rome

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Italian officials are open to the the country hosting a charity cage match between Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg — seemingly moving closer to reality the is-it-a-joke-or-isn’t-it fight that would pit the two tech billionaire barons against each other.

However, contrary to Musk’s latest claim that the cage match will be set in “ancient Rome,” Italy’s minister of culture, Gennaro Sangiuliano, said such an event will not be held in Rome.

“I had a long and friendly conversation with Elon Musk,” Sangiuliano said in a statement Friday (per Google’s translation). “We talked about the common passion for the history of ancient Rome. We are thinking about how to organize a great charity and historical evocation event, respecting and fully protecting the places. It will not be held in Rome.” Sangiuliano previously had said a Musk-Zuck fight would not be held at Rome’s Colosseum because of ongoing maintenance work.

Earlier Friday, Musk posted an update on X (aka Twitter) with supposed details of the cage match with Meta CEO Zuckerberg. “The fight will be managed by my and Zuck’s foundations (not UFC). Livestream will be on this platform and Meta,” Musk wrote. “Everything in camera frame will be ancient Rome, so nothing modern at all. I spoke to the PM of Italy and Minister of Culture. They have agreed on an epic location.”

“Everything done will pay respect to the past and present of Italy. And all proceeds go to veterans,” Musk claimed.

Zuckerberg responded Friday to Musk’s latest statements about the prospective matchup in a post on Instagram’s Threads. “I love this sport and I’ve been ready to fight since the day Elon challenged me. If he ever agrees on an actual date, you’ll hear it from me. Until then, please assume anything he says has not been agreed on,” Zuckerberg wrote.

Zuck continued, “Not holding my breath for Elon, but I’ll share details on my next fight when I’m ready. When I compete, I want to do it in a way that puts a spotlight on the elite athletes at the top of the game. You do that by working with professional orgs like the UFC or ONE to pull this off well and create a great card.”

Musk, 52, and Zuckerberg, 39, have been jawing about an MMA confrontation over the last two months. Zuck, who recently medaled in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament, seems fully willing to climb into the ring. Earlier this week, Zuckerberg said he had originally suggested Aug. 26 as a date for the fight.

It’s less clear how serious Musk is. After announcing that the fight would be held in Italy, he posted, “Dulce est desipere in loco,” a quote from Horace’s “Odes” that has been translated as, “It is delightful to play the fool occasionally.” On Sunday, Musk said the exact date of the fight “is still in flux. I’m getting an MRI of my neck & upper back tomorrow. May require surgery before the fight can happen.” In June, Musk wrote, “I have this great move that I call ‘The Walrus,’ where I just lie on top of my opponent & do nothing.”

While Musk said the fight with Zuckerberg will benefit veterans, Italy’s Sangiuliano said the event would also potentially result in “many millions of euros” donated to “two important Italian pediatric hospitals for the strengthening of structures and scientific research to combat diseases affecting children.” Sangiuliano added that Musk vs. Zuck “will also be an opportunity to promote our history and our archaeological, artistic and cultural heritage on a planetary scale.”

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