The Meta Corporation would like you to know that Mark Zuckerberg was not choked unconscious during his recent appearance at a Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament.
The Facebook founder made headlines at the start of May when he showed up at a BJJ Tour Silicon Valley event and won two medals: a gold in the no-gi white belt 149-pound division (for grapplers age 30 and up) and a silver in a no-gi division.
The Zuck is one of many people who got sucked into the sports of mixed martial arts (MMA) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu during the pandemic, and it’s cool to see him embrace the gentle art and start competing in tournaments. He should be congratulated for winning medals, even if he and one other person were the only guys in the aforementioned no-gi 30+ white belt bracket.
We’re less impressed at how he (or at least his people) are handling news that Zuckerberg got choked out in one of his matches. According to referee, Lucas Costa, Zuckerberg was left “snoring” after his opponent locked up an Ezekiel choke in the gi. After three snores, the ref stepped in and waved things off. Video of the incident doesn’t give us a good angle on the submission, but does show an upset Zuck complaining to the referee.
After The New York Times profile on Zuckerberg’s latest trials and tribulations mentioned him getting choked unconscious, the Facebook / Meta press machine sprung into action.
“At no point during the competition was Mark knocked unconscious. That never happened,” a statement from a Meta spokesperson read. They also claimed referee Lucas Costa “apologized to Mark and his coach after the match for prematurely calling the match.”
Did he really, though? Lucas Costa was pretty specific about what happened.
Mark Zuckerberg complains to referee after losing jiu-jitsu contest pic.twitter.com/1CvvmdQw8J— The Independent (@Independent) May 8, 2023
“I was paying a lot of attention,” Costa said. “I was paying even more attention because it was Mark. He got caught in an Ezekiel and I waited, but he didn’t fight back. And I was waiting, but on the third snore I had to stop the fight. He was very polite but he wanted to know how the rules work.”
Zuckerberg’s jiu-jitsu coach, Dave Camarillo, was also included in the statement, suggesting the referee misunderstood the Meta leader’s grunting noises for snores.
Apparently when you’re a tech visionary bigwig like Zuckerberg, you can’t let misunderstandings like this go without some pushback from your corporation’s pubic relations department. All in all, it’s a pretty overblown response to getting choked out in a white-belt level competition.
But, with this level of thin skin and baby behavior from Zuckerberg, he’s showing he has what it takes to be one of the real jiu-jitsu greats.
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