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Mackenzie Dern says UFC Vegas 61 closure falls on Mark Zuckerberg renting out UFC Apex, Dana White denies

UFC Vegas 61 this weekend (Sat., Oct. 1, 2022) will be a bit different than the usual shows run inside the promotion’s Apex facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Earlier in the week, UFC issued a press release, revealing that fans and/or media would not be allowed to attend UFC Vegas 61. In other words, it would be a closed show. The statement can be read below:

“UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan taking place at the Apex on October 1st will be closed to the public and media. Media will be available to attend the media day on Wed., Sept. 28 and official weigh-ins on Fri., Sept. 30.

“Athlete interviews, fight night images and official scorecards will be provided via email sent out to credentialed media the morning of Sat., Oct. 1.”

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PIVOTAL FLYWEIGHT FRACAS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Arena CDMX in Mexico City, Mexico, on Feb. 24, 2024, with a pivotal Flyweight fracas between former 125-pound kingpin, Brandon Moreno, and most recent title challenger, Brandon Royval, who replaces the red-hot (and injured) Iraqi “Prince,” Amir Albazi. In UFC Mexico City’s ESPN+-streamed co-main event, top-ranked Featherweight contenders, Yair Rodriguez (No. 3) and Brian Ortega (No. 4), will run it back after their initial encounter ended prematurely via gross injury.

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During last night’s (Tues., Sept. 27, 2022) Contender Series post-fight press conference, White jokingly answered that he felt like giving the media a night off when asked the reasoning for the exclusivity.

Saturday’s main event will feature a pivotal Strawweight clash between top contenders, Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan. Ahead of the action, Dern was also asked if she had any idea why the event was reverting to a pandemic-like feel.

“I know Mark Zuckerberg rented out the whole event,” Dern said at UFC Vegas 61 media day (h/t MMA Junkie). “So, I know he’ll be there, but I don’t know if it’s just like literally him and his wife or if he’s gonna have friends or if it’s just like a small party, I don’t know.”

The Facebook Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Zuckerberg, recently revealed his interest in mixed martial arts (MMA) with a brief video shared of him hitting pads. After catching wind of the video, White discussed the interest between Zuckerberg and MMA, but never mentioned any types of partnerships of sorts. If the promotion is in fact working with Facebook or a Zuckerberg-led project, it will surely be revealed on the empty fight night.

Update: White has now responded to the claims on Twitter saying; “Mark Zuckerberg did NOT rent out the UFC Apex. That’s total bulls—t.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 61 fight card right here, starting with the ESPN/ESPN+ “Prelims” matches, which are scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. ET, then the remaining main card balance (on ESPN+) at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 61: “Dern vs. Yan” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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