Exclusive: BJJ ref responds to Mark Zuckerberg over choke out denials, ‘I wasn’t going to treat him special’

Mark Zuckerberg wanted to make sure The New York Times knew he wasn't choked unconscious at a BJJ event. But he was.

By: Eugene S. Robinson | 4 months ago
Exclusive: BJJ ref responds to Mark Zuckerberg over choke out denials, ‘I wasn’t going to treat him special’
Mark Zuckerberg, BJJ Ace. Art by Chris Rini.

Dear The New York Times

Four weeks ago Bloody Elbow posted the first interview with Mark Zuckerberg BJJ referee Lucas Costa. The New York Times, subsequent to this, ran an article and didn’t cite us, outside of on Twitter. Despite author Eugene S. Robinson having penned an article for the New York Times in the past. A mistake we trust won’t happen again. — Eds.

Yes, Mark Zuckerberg you were choked out

“At no point during the competition was Mark knocked unconscious,” Elana Widmann, a spokesperson for Meta, said in an email to The Daily Beast. “That never happened.”

And piling on, filing a measure that comfortably could be called “damage control” Zuckerberg’s coach, Dave Camarillo, dismissed the snores that we reported referee Lucas Costa called the match over “effortful grunting.” This in response to a follow-on piece written by the New York Times’ Joseph Bernstein where Camarillo claimed Costa had misheard. Making Costa a semi-competent referee or, worst case, a liar and Bernstein a dupe, or…

“I wasn’t going to treat him special. A white belt who didn’t even try to defend the choke?”

Lucas Costa, who reffed Mark Zuckerberg’s recent BJJ bout

Or the forest is being missed here for the trees and so a recitation of terms must be established. For which we must head headlong into the weird weeds of the IBJJF rule set and what it means to competitors, as well as what the non-BJJ world thinks they mean. …

To read the rest of this piece, which has exclusive quotes from referee Lucas Costa head over to The Bloody Elbow Substack. If you like what Bloody Elbow does, the best way to support us is with a paid subscription to Substack. Those subscriptions, particularly $50 annual subscriptions, pay our staff writers and fund special pieces from Eugene S. Robinson, John S. Nash, Karim Zidan and Jonathan Snowden.

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Eugene S. Robinson
Eugene S. Robinson

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