- The winner of Zuck vs Elon is a no-brainer.
- As a trained jiu-jitsu and MMA practitioner, Mark Zuckerberg has skills that Elon Musk does not.
- Musk has a weight advantage, but Zuck has an everything-else advantage.
You can already see it as clear as day.
The world’s tech bros descend upon Las Vegas; the lights are on, the cameras are flashing; the 20,000 seats of the city’s T-Mobile Arena are packed to the rafters – all in anticipation of a duel unlike anything before.
I am, of course, talking about the probable scene and setting for the most talked-about fight right now: Musk vs Zuck.
Joe Rogan in commentary, a Logan Paul cameo, and Elon Musk prancing down to the Octagon to a backdrop of music by his ex-partner Grimes as Mark Zuckerberg stares him down just about completes that picture.
This is an imaginary scenario for now, but the two billionaires are apparently serious about squaring off against each other this week as their longtime rivalry reaches new heights. Musk’s mom is, at the time of writing, trying to call the whole thing off.
Assuming it does go ahead, who would come out on top?
As a longtime martial artist, I’ve weighed up all the possibilities I can think of to determine who I think would come out on top.
And my money is on Zuck, even if the betting odds are split.
Here are three reasons why he should win this comfortably.
1. Zuck has skills
As a practitioner of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, who also does MMA training, and has generally spent the last few years getting shredded, Mark Zuckerberg has a clear skill and fitness advantage over the Twitter owner.
Musk has acknowledged as much, tweeting that he almost never works out, with the extent of his exercise being picking up his kids and throwing them in the air.
In almost any situation, a skilled fighter will enjoy the likelihood of winning.
2. Jiu-jitsu is a superpower
When push comes to shove, most people probably know how to throw a punch in a fight.
Jiu-jitsu is a different beast. An untrained individual without jiu-jitsu know-how facing off against an individual with the skill of a relative beginner like Zuckerberg risks total humiliation. This is not to denigrate something like “the sweet science,” a technical marvel itself, so let me explain.
Jiu-jitsu’s focus on brutal submission holds – such as joint locks and choke holds – comes to the fore on the ground, with practitioners engaging in what can only be likened to a highly technical 4D game of chess. How many people know how to fight from the ground?
It’s why the general experience of beginners against trained jiu-jitsu practitioners is a bewildering one. It involves getting taken down to the ground, becoming puzzled about how their opponent is controlling their body, and then preparing to tap as your practitioner cinches a choke.
Musk has been offered a hand in training by the likes of Lex Fridman, the podcaster and jiu-jitsu black belt. It might help with some of the basics. If Fridman wants to really help Musk, he could introduce him to the “leg-lock game,” a highly dangerous side of the martial art that involves trying to break an opponent’s knee or ankle joints through leg locks and heel hooks.
Zuckerberg is unlikely to have learned much of the leg game as a relatively early-stage practitioner, making it a potential point of weakness in his grappling.
But really, without months of practice, Musk stands little chance.
A recent post from Zuckerberg shows him practicing certain jiu-jitsu drills with confidence and genuine slickness.
3. Size isn’t everything
An apparent advantage for Musk is his size: standing at over six feet tall, the billionaire towers over Zuckerberg, who is just 5 feet 7. Musk also carries more body weight than the Meta chief, presumably giving him a strength advantage.
But fighting isn’t necessarily a game of size and strength. When all things are equal, size and strength do count, which is why professional fighters organize themselves into weight classes. A heavyweight UFC fighter should make light work of a bantamweight one.
But when the skill gap is as vast as it is between Zuckerberg and Musk, size and strength count for very little – particularly so when a martial art like jiu-jitsu is designed such that a smaller fighter can leverage a larger opponent’s weight against them.
It is worth saying that every fight starts from a standing position. For Zuckerberg to get his advantage through jiu-jitsu on the ground, he’ll first need to take Musk down.
Zuckerberg’s striking abilities aren’t quite as smooth as his jiu-jitsu skills, so expect him to take Musk down as quickly as possible. It’s probably why Musk tweeted “let’s go full MMA” on Thursday.
Without training, though, it’s all bluster. Zuckerberg has his number and Musk would do well to recognize that.
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