UFC president Dana White previously said that claims the Facebook CEO had rented out the Apex were ?total bulls?t?
Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan could be seen ringside at UFC Vegas 61 on Saturday night, which triggered criticism and the resurfacing of claims that the Facebook CEO had rented the UFC Apex out.
Zuckerberg posted a photo with his wife and fighter Mackenzie Dern to Instagram on Saturday night where he said he was excited to see the Brazilian-American fighter, who later went on to lose a majority decision to Yan Xiaonan in the main event, in action.
"Thanks Dana White for inviting us," Zuckerberg wrote while tagging the MMA promotion's president.
White announced on Tuesday that the Apex would be closed to fans and media at the weekend, but Dern claimed that Zuckerberg had rented it out privately ahead of fight night.
"I know Mark Zuckerberg rented out the whole event, so I know he'll be there. But I don't know if it's just, like, literally him and his wife, if he's gonna have friends or if it's just like a small party. I don't know," Dern said.
White attempted to debunk these claims by tweeting: "Mark Zuckerberg did NOT rent out the UFC Apex. That's total bulls-t," on Thursday.
But accusations that the billionaire had privately hired the Vegas venue resurfaced online once photos and videos of the couple emerged on social media, with the UFC also uploading a photo of Zuckerberg and White together.
Zuckerberg could be seen on his feet enjoying the action at one point. But the rough and violent nature of a bout between Raoni Barcelos and Trevin Jones proved too much for Priscilla Chan, who was seen wincing and turning away in viral footage viewed a million times on Twitter to the amusement of ex-welterweight title challenger Gilbert Burns.
Elsewhere on the platform, figures of the fight game were critical of the Zuckerbergs' presence.
"Yes, who of us hasn't bought out an entire arena to watch athletes bludgeon themselves while we can't be bothered to be among the unwashed masses?" asked former middleweight championship contender Nathan Quarry.
"I'd say for most of us the lap of luxury involves buying brown mustard."
"That the UFC thinks this is a great marketing opportunity shows how out of touch they are," Quarry added.
"I'm old enough to remember when the fighters were the main draw. Not the promoter. And certainly not a guest at the fights."
Also unimpressed was another ex-title challenger, Al Iaquinta, who remarked: "The best part about the UFC events live is the crowd going nutso. Like, stay home bro what the f*ck."