Mark Zuckerberg denies getting choked out at BJJ event: ‘That never happened’

Mark Zuckerberg doesn't want you to think he was choked out in a BJJ match.

By: Lucas Rezende | 4 months ago
Mark Zuckerberg denies getting choked out at BJJ event: ‘That never happened’
Mark Zuckerberg competed in a BJJ event in May. IMAGO/Zuma Wire

There has been a new chapter in the Mark Zuckerberg meets Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu soap opera. Having competed at a BJJ event in early May, the Facebook founder impressed some attendees and even a few specialists with his technique. In fact, the billionaire even managed to snatch a couple of medals while at it, but it was not all wins for the tech entrepreneur.

Mark Zuckerberg’s ref claims to have heard him snoring

During what has since became Mark Zuckerberg’s most popular BJJ match, referee and seasoned practitioner Jose Lucas Costa da Silva was overseeing the fight and stopped it once he noticed that the billionaire had been choked unconscious. In an interview with Eugene S. Robinson for Bloody Elbow, the ref detailed the sequence of events which led to his decision at the time.

“There was no argument,” said Costa. “It was in Gi and he got choked out. That was the video you saw. I stopped it and he wanted to check with me about why I stopped it. He didn’t know what was happening, which was one of the reasons I stopped it. But he had started to snore and the rule set says that snoring is a version of a verbal tap.”

“I was paying a lot of attention,” Costa laughed. “I was paying even more attention because it was Mark. He got caught in an Ezekiel and I waited, but he didn’t fight back. And I was waiting, but on the third snore I had to stop the fight. He was very polite but he wanted to know how the rules work.”

“No, I wasn’t.” Says, Mark Zuckerberg

However, in a new turn of events, both Mark Zuckerberg and his coach David Camarillo reached out to the New York Times to make some clarifications. According to the e-mail, the Facebook founder says he was never unconscious and that Costa da Silva simply mistook his grunts for snoring.

“That never happened,’ Mr. Zuckerberg wrote in an email. According to Mr. Camarillo, Mr. Costa da Silva mistook his student’s effortful grunting for snores,” the New York Times reported.

Similar incidents have happened in the UFC

Whether or not Jose Lucas Costa da Silva made a mistake during Mark Zuckeberg’s match may never be truly known. However, it is worth noting that such mistakes have happened before, and not only in BJJ competitions. Even in the UFC, seasoned referees such as Mario Yamasaki have made the wrong call at times.

Perhaps his most famous slip being in June 2017, when then UFC lightweight Kevin Lee had Michael Chiesa in a rear-naked choke at UFC Fight Night 112 and Yamasaki stopped the fight while ‘Maverick’ was still conscious and hadn’t tapped. Though Chiesa did appeal the result to the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, the fight was not overturned.

A fight that did get overturned, into a No Contest, was a lightweight match between Drew Dober and Leandro Silva, at UFC Rio de Janeiro in March 2015. At the time, the Brazilian fighter had Dober in a guillotine choke when referee Eduardo Herdy stopped the match. Again, while Dober was still conscious and didn’t tap out. The result was soon overturned by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) when Herdy himself admitted to the mistake.

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About the author
Lucas Rezende
Lucas Rezende

Lucas Rezende is a Brazilian journalist and writer from Belem, Para. He has been covering MMA since 2012 and contributing with Bloody Elbow since March 2015. When not writing, Lucas also teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys reading, slapping the bass guitar and traveling.

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