ROME – Tesla boss Elon Musk said on Friday that his planned cage fight with billionaire rival Mark Zuckerberg would take place in an “epic venue” with an ancient Roman theme, as Italy indicated it was ready to host the fight.
Italy’s Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano said in a statement that he had spoken to Musk about hosting a “large, historically evocative charity event.”
He did not specify what the event would be, or when it might take place, saying only that it would not take place in Rome.
Opposition politicians denounced their willingness to let social media and tech moguls fight in Italy.
“I find it just mind-boggling that Italian cultural heritage is being made available to two billionaires who want to indulge like silly teenagers,” said Carlo Calenda, a former industry minister and leader of the Azione party.
“There are things that are simply not for sale. One of them is the dignity and history of a great nation,” she said.
Musk and Zuckerberg have been goading each other into a mixed martial arts (MMA) cage match since June.
At one point, Musk said that the ancient Colosseum in Rome would host the fight, but Italy ruled that out. However, the owner of the X media platform, formerly known as Twitter, said on Friday that the clash would have an ancient Roman theme.
“Everything in the frame of the camera will be ancient Rome, so nothing modern at all. I spoke with the Prime Minister of Italy and the Minister of Culture. They have agreed on an epic location,” the Tesla CEO said in a post on X.
Sangiuliano said Friday that any event would respect and safeguard Italy’s heritage sites.
“It will not take place in Rome. Above all, a substantial amount, many millions of euros, is expected to be donated to two major Italian pediatric hospitals to strengthen the facilities and scientific research to combat childhood diseases,” he said in a statement.
“It will also be an opportunity to promote our history and archaeological, artistic and cultural heritage worldwide,” he added.
Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper suggested that if the fight did happen, it could take place in Pompeii, near Naples.
Musk threw down the gauntlet to Zuckerberg in a June 20 post, saying he was “ready for a cage match” with his business rival, who is trained in jiujitsu.
A day later, Zuckerberg, who posted photos of the matches he won on his company’s Instagram platform, asked Musk to “send the location” for the proposed shootdown.
Musk says fight with Zuckerberg will be broadcast live on X
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