Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg bagged gold and silver medals this weekend at his first jiu-jitsu tournament.
A series of six photos, posted to Facebook and Instagram, shows the Meta founder grappling with two different opponents at the Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition, which was held Saturday at Woodside High School in Woodside, California, just north of Silicon Valley. Other images show a referee declaring Zuckerberg victorious after the two matches.
“Competed in my first jiu jitsu tournament and won some medals for the Guerrilla Jiu Jitsu team,” Zuckerberg wrote beneath the photos, which racked up more than 400,000 likes on Instagram and 300,000 likes on Facebook. “Thanks to Dave Camarillo, Khai Wu, and James Terry for training me!” reads one caption.
The post features a photo of the CEO posing alongside members of the Gorilla Jiu Jitsu team, at a Bay Area-gym where he competed. The last image shows a pensive Zuckerberg approaching a gym mat.
Zuckerberg began studying mixed martial arts during the coronavirus pandemic and quickly became enamored with the sport, he told in an August interview with podcast host Joe Rogan, himself a noted practitioner and fan of the sport. The sport’s “primal” nature has helped Zuckerberg boost his energy level as he tackles challenges at work, he told Rogan.
“MMA is the perfect thing,” Zuckerberg said on the podcast. “After an hour or two of working out, or rolling or wrestling with friends, or training with different folks, it’s like now I’m ready to go solve whatever problem at work for the day.”
Zuckerberg trains with Dave Camarillo of Gorilla Jiu Jitsu, who has taught several UFC champions. Since beginning his jiu-jitsu journey, Zuckerberg has convinced several of his friends to start hitting the gym as well, he told Rogan.
From the C-suite to the mat
Zuckerberg isn’t the only tech tycoon who has been hitting the gym.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, 51, also trains in jiu-jitsu at a California gym he said on Rogan’s show in 2021. PayPal CEO Dan Schulman has a well-documented affinity for krav maga, an Israeli self-defense practice that the 65-year-old has credited with teaching him how to pick his battles and keep advancing toward his goals. Palantir CEO Alex Karp, 55, has practiced both jiu-jitsu and aikido — a Japanese art of self-defense, Fortune reported.
Martial arts and other sports might offer much-needed stress relief for tech CEOs, especially given the industry’s recent slump. Tech companies have been battered by waves of layoffs as they record weaker earnings.
Meta’s net income fell 24% to $5.71 billion during the first quarter of 2023. Last week, the social media company also revealed it would shed an additional 1,500 jobs in the Bay Area as part of its plan to reduce its worker headcount by 21,000, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.