The other shoe has finally dropped in the mystery of just what the hell the UFC was thinking when they closed the doors of their Apex facility to media and the public for UFC Fight Night: Dern vs. Yan earlier this October.
The basic motivations behind the decision became clear on the night of the event itself, when—despite heavy denials in the days prior—Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was spotted sitting cageside as one of a very select few people in attendance. Whether one of the world’s richest men had, in fact, rented out the whole event like a it was a laser-tag birthday party or the UFC had simply decided to gift him with sole occupancy was purely pedantic. Whatever the case, the Endeavor-owned fight promotion had given itself over to one high profile guest.
Now we know why.
The UFC announced on Thursday, October 13th, that they have officially partnered with Zuckerberg’s Meta company to deliver on-demand VR MMA events. In the near future fans will be able to access VR feeds of MMA cards on the Fight Pass platform (h/t MMA Fighting).
“We are excited to offer an unprecedented level of engagement for Fight Pass subscribers and MMA fans around the world by producing a live MMA event in virtual reality,” Crowley Sullivan, Fight Pass vice president and general manager is quoted as saying. “With Meta providing the VR platform and YBVR lending their production expertise, we’re confident this will be a great experience for fight fans.”
The first event to be hosted via this new platform will be LFA 144: Gafurov vs. Silva. Which can be accessed through the Meta Horizon Worlds app. That card takes place this Friday, October 14th, in Sioux Falls, SD. Fans who sign up for the virtual reality feed will apparently get access to a 180 degree panorama view of the fight fight card, and the ability to see and chat with other VR fans live. No word yet on what pricing will look like for future VR events.
The move has apparently been a long-term goal of Dana White’s. As far back as February, the UFC President was teasing his hopes for bringing the UFC to virtual reality sometime in the near future.
“We’re looking to do a fight in the Metaverse,” White enthused. “We’ve been working on it for a while. It’ll be a live fight, an actual fight that takes place inside the metaverse.”
“It’d be kids at home, you put on your (goggles) and you can (get) up and go walk around. We’re still working it out, but yeah, it’ll be soon. We’ll be doing a fight in the metaverse. It’ll be a real fight.”
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