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This weekend’s UFC fight card will take place behind closed doors — but Dana White says that Mark Zuckerberg is not behind the so-called ‘media blackout’.

It was revealed this week that neither media nor fans will be permitted to attend the fight card to be headlined by Mackenzie Dern’s clash with Yan Xiaonan, with White joking that he was giving reporters “a night off”. However, speaking to the media herself ahead of the bout, Dern claimed that she was informed that the reason for the blackout is that Facebook creator and Meta chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg had “rented out” the arena for what was suggested to be a private party. 

“I know Mark Zuckerberg rented out the whole event,” said Dern. “I know he’ll be there, but I don’t know if it’s literally him, his wife or if he’ll have friends — some type of party. But from someone who wanted a main event with a crowd, [it’s] going to be very, very private.

“I’m excited. That just makes me more driven to put on a good show. I know everyone is watching on TV, but for Mark and whoever is going to be there, put on a show. If that’s what they want to see, is a show, then we’re going to give a show.”

Zuckerberg is known for being a fan of mixed martial arts, and even published a video to social media recently which showed him performing MMA sparring with a training parter — a clip which garnered praise from several figures within the sport, including Conor McGregor.

However, Dana White has since addressed claims that Zuckerberg paid to have an empty arena this weekend.

“Mark Zuckerberg did NOT rent out the UFC Apex,” he wrote on Twitter. “That’s total bullshit.”