Former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has reportedly refused to train American billionaire Elon Musk for his fight with Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, according to TASS news agency.
A person familiar with the situation told the outlet that the undefeated Russian fighter had rebuffed an approach by Musk, who wanted him to prepare him for the bout. It is not known why Nurmagomedov turned down the offer, but the source claimed the event was being organized by UFC Eurasia CEO Andrey Gromkovsky.
Earlier, the New York Times reported that Musk and Zuckerberg were in talks with the UFC about the fight. UFC president Dana White has even suggested that the proposed cage match between the two billionaires could become the most profitable fight in history.
While it has yet to be officially confirmed that Nurmagomedov has refused to train Musk, a number of MMA promoters have come out in support of his reported decision.
In a statement to TASS, Russian sports manager Vladimir Khryunov said that “Khabib is a man of his own convictions” and is very serious about the sport to which he has dedicated his life. “I consider his decision to be the right one and it causes great respect for Khabib,” he added.
President of the promotional company Fight Nights Global, Kamil Gadzhiev, also told the agency that Nurmagomedov’s decision was to be expected considering he has announced his retirement from MMA and is currently not even training anyone close to him.
“For Khabib, it must be something super-principled to return to MMA. And Elon Musk’s fight definitely doesn’t belong to this category,” Gadzhiev added.
Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, the richest and 10th-richest men in the world, have been trading barbs on social media for several weeks now, following the announcement and subsequent launch of Zuckerberg’s Threads – a rival to Musk’s Twitter (now called X).
In June, Musk challenged Zuckerberg to a “cage match,” which drew the response: “Send me location.” Musk then tweeted: “Vegas Octagon” – the famed arena that hosts UFC fights.
While many have been exicted by the prospect of seeing the two billionaires thrash it out in the ring, the probability of the bout actually happening doesn’t appear to be very high. Last week, Zuckerberg stated that he is “not sure” the cage match will “come together.”