UFC Vegas 61 will be one of the first events to shut out media. Even during the pandemic UFC had organized events and allowed for media coverage however they’re rumored to be trying something new in collaboration with Meta and their MMA training CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Dana White was on hand to answer questions following the Tuesday night contender series but he insisted on still playing coy about next weekend’s event.
“Can you tell us what the heck is going on Saturday night that no no fans, no media is going to be allowed in the building?” one member of the media asked to which White replied:
“Oh, we just figured that you guys have been so busy lately. We give you guys a night off. You guys are here on Tuesdays. You’re on Saturdays. Kevin actually showed up today. I mean, we got to we need to give you guys a break, so you’re welcome.”
“You’re welcome. There’s anything else I can do for you guys this week? Let me know.”
“There’s no big secret. I mean, we’re just we’re just closing a little troublemaker over here. I know she’s been she’s been poking around all week and cryptic tweets and, you know, she thinks she’s got something, but she doesn’t have enough to announce it.”
White was likely refering to Amy Kaplan who hinted at a Meta collab on twitter.
“UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan taking place at the Apex on October 1st will be closed to the public and media,” the UFC confirmed in a statement.
MMA Mania’s Drake Riggs commented on the closure, tweeting: “They better have a good reason for this because that’s an exposure blow to all the winners who now won’t get post-fights scrums.”
FanSided’s Amy Kaplan responded to Riggs, writing: “This is my BIG concern. These fighters deserve that.”
Soon after another member of MMA media hinted that it’s not a Covid related thing – and that it was an ‘overall positive’ development.
Another member of MMA community on twitter shared that there are rumors floating that this is all because of some collab UFC is planning with Meta the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and more.
“Prevailing thought is that #UFCVegas61 being closed to the public (both media and fans) has to do with a collaboration of some kind with Metaverse.
Dana White met with Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month.”
Prevailing thought is that #UFCVegas61 being closed to the public (both media and fans) has to do with a collaboration of some kind with Metaverse.
— Talen Guzman (@TalenGuzman) September 27, 2022
Meta’s Horizon Worlds VR creation sandbox has been widely criticized.
It's genuinely puzzling that Meta spent more than $10 billion on VR last year and the graphics in its flagship app still look worse than a 2008 Wii game. https://t.co/IOwqsrrfKj
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) August 16, 2022
Criticism prompted an instant response.
And the widely criticized poster for Dern vs Yan might be a huge clue.
UFC Vegas 61’s poster was called the “worst poster of the year” at least once in response to the featured Tweet above, and several fight fans labeled the artwork “garbage.”