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It appears the speculation about the reason for Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance at UFC Fight Night 211 can end.
The UFC on Thursday announced a partnership with Meta, the company Zuckerberg is founder and CEO of. Brands under Meta’s banner include Facebook and Instagram, as well as Oculus, a company that produces virtual reality hardware and software.
And through that partnership, announced in a news release, UFC Fight Pass will offer live and on-demand MMA events in virtual reality through Meta’s Horizon Worlds app, which runs through Oculus devices like the Meta Quest 2 headset.
Friday’s LFA 144, which streams live on UFC Fight Pass, will be the first combat sports event to make its way to the Horizon Worlds app. LFA 144 takes place at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, S.D.
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According to the release, viewers will be able to see and interact with other fans in real time “while enjoying unprecedented VR views of all the thrilling action in the LFA Octagon, including strikes, takedowns, grappling and more.”
The event will be produced in VR180, which will give users a 180-degree panoramic view of the event.
“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 stated. “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 Meta Horizon Worlds app is a free download in the Meta Quest app store. Beyond the live VR broadcast, LFA 144 will be available from Oct. 23-27, as well.
Additional VR broadcasts on Fight Pass will be announced in the coming weeks.
Zuckerberg made a big splash when he attended UFC Fight Night 211 on Oct. 1. Just a few days before the card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, it was announced that credentialed media would be allowed at the media day and weigh-ins, but not at the fights themselves. Zuckerberg attended with his wife and other high-profile Meta executives and sat cageside for an event with no media and no fans.