Mark Zuckerberg MMA/BJJ: Why He Trains (FAQs Answered)

Image by JD Lasica

Are you wondering why Mark Zuckerberg started Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA?

In this article, we examine all the reasons Mark said he started Bjj and MMA, and we answer many frequently asked questions such as his current Bjj belt, whether his Bjj belt is legitimate, how long he’s been training, and more.

Why Mark Zuckerberg Trains BJJ and MMA

In short, Mark Zuckerberg trains MMA and Bjj as it sharpens his mental focus and health, enhances problem-solving abilities for work, fosters social bonding and community building, teaches strategic thinking paralleling business challenges, and provides quick, tangible feedback.

Finally, this training serves as a valuable stress relief and physical outlet, enriching both his personal and professional life.

In his latest appearance on the Lex Friedman Podcast in June 2023, Mark Zuckerberg spoke of his feelings about Bjj and why he started the martial art. 

He also spoke to Joe Rogan in August 2022 about why he started and continues to train MMA and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

Here’s a closer look at the key reasons behind his commitment to these martial arts:

1. Mental Focus and Health

Bjj and MMA require undivided attention, making them both physically and intellectually engaging.

Mark says that in MMA, if you lose focus for 1 second, you end up on the bottom.

This heightened concentration level is essential for Zuckerberg’s mental health, as it sharpens his focus and cognitive abilities, which are crucial for his professional responsibilities.

2. Boosting Energy and Problem-Solving Skills

Regular training in Bjj and MMA is key to maintaining Zuckerberg’s energy levels. He finds that engaging in these intense physical activities helps him recharge, leaving him revitalized and ready to tackle complex challenges at work.

Also, this practice of physically exerting himself enhances his ability to solve problems, demonstrating the connection between physical well-being and mental acuity.

Mark says that after an hour or two of working out, either Bjj, wrestling, or MMA training, he’s ready to go and solve any problems at work for the day.

3. Building a Martial Arts Community

Zuckerberg has created a mini academy in his garage, sharing his passion for Bjj with friends.

This communal aspect of training fosters a sense of camaraderie but also reflects his success in introducing and committing others to the discipline.

Mark revealed to Joe Rogan how he has a 100% success rate in introducing his friends to Brazilian jiu-jitsu and having them commit to training.

4. Enhanced Understanding of UFC Events

Training in MMA and Bjj has deepened Zuckerberg’s appreciation of UFC events. His hands-on experience in these sports has allowed him to fully understand the nuances and strategies of professional fights.

Mark Zuckerberg has been seen at UFC events on a few occasions, most recently at the UFC Apex for UFC Fight Night 211: Dern vs. Yan, on October 1, 2022.

5. Embracing Failure and Vulnerability

Zuckerberg values Bjj and MMA for the lessons they impart about failure and the importance of being willing to face embarrassment.

He sees these experiences as crucial for learning, growth, and a person’s ability to do interesting things in their life, mirroring his approach to challenges in the tech industry.

Mark believes that Bjj and MMA can help people step out of their comfort zone and get past the fear of failure.

His advice to Bjj/MMA beginners is to be willing to get beat up a lot as it allows them to learn and advance faster.

6. Philosophical Parallels in MMA/BJJ and Business

Mark draws parallels between the philosophies of MMA/Bjj and business, especially in understanding flow and momentum.

This perspective aids him in making strategic decisions and discerning when to persevere or pivot in various business scenarios.

A great example is how META invested billions into the Metaverse but quickly pulled the plug after realizing it was a failed venture without a profitable future.

7. Valuing Quick Feedback Loops

The immediate feedback from Bjj and MMA training, where actions lead to quick results, contrasts with the longer feedback cycles at Meta, where the results of decisions don’t become clear until many years later.

Zuckerberg believes that experiencing both types of feedback is healthy and important for a well-rounded approach to learning and decision-making.

8. Primal Intensity and Competition

Engaging in the intensity of martial arts provides Zuckerberg with a way to decompress from work pressures or mentally gear up for challenges. 

They offer him a physical outlet for stress, a fun way to recalibrate his focus, and a new avenue for expressing his competitive nature.

This competitive nature also helps Mark build grit and determination, which are crucial for helping him push through when things get hard at work.

9. Strategic Application in Physical Combat

His preference for the top game in Bjj and focus on techniques like back takes and chokes reflects a strategic approach, suited to his stature and indicative of his analytical thinking.

Mark believes that the strategy involved in Bjj and MMA helps him with business strategy.


Zuckerberg’s involvement in Bjj and MMA is an integral part of his lifestyle, reflecting his beliefs about focus, continuous learning, resilience, physical progression, and maintaining a balanced approach to life and work. 

These martial arts offer unique avenues for personal growth, mental fortitude, and practical applications of his business acumen.

Here’s Mark Zuckerberg talking to Joe Rogan about why he trains MMA and Bjj:

Did Mark Zuckerberg Win a BJJ Tournament?

Yes, Mark Zuckerberg won the BJJ Tour Silicon Valley Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament in May 2023, held at Woodside High School in Woodside, California​​​​.

This was Mark Zuckerberg’s first Bjj tournament and he won 2 medals – a gold medal in the Nogi Master 1 White Belt featherweight division and a silver medal in the Gi Master 2 White Belt featherweight division.

The BJJ Tour is a well-recognized series in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community, known for its competitive spirit and inclusivity of various age divisions and belt ranks.

After winning the Bjj tournament, Mark thanked his trainers, Dave Camarillo, Khai Wu, and James Terry.

Here’s a look at Mark Zuckerberg in action at the tournament:

What Belt Is Mark Zuckerberg in BJJ? (Mark Zuckerberg Bjj Belt)

Mark Zuckerberg is a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (Bjj). Mark earned his Bjj blue belt on July 23, 2023.

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the blue belt is the second of five belts, running from white, blue, purple, brown, and black.

Mark was awarded his Bjj blue belt by his coach, Dave Camarillo, a lifelong Bjj practitioner who earned his Bjj black belt under Ralph Gracie. 

Dave’s also the founder of Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu in San Jose, California, the academy where Mark Zuckerberg trains.

It takes an average of 2 to 3 years to go from blue to purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, but with continued dedication and private lessons under Dave Camarillo, Mark Zuckerberg may do it much faster.

After being promoted to a Bjj blue belt, Mark Zuckerberg wrote on Instagram, “Congrats @davecamarillo on your 5th-degree black belt. You’re a great coach and I’ve learned so much about fighting and life from training with you. Also honored to be promoted to compete at blue belt for @guerrillajjsanjose team.”

Is Mark Zuckerberg a Legitimate BJJ Blue Belt?

Mark Zuckerberg is 100% a legitimate Bjj blue belt, despite many believing that he earned a blue belt because of his fame, power, wealth, and connections.

And while these factors did help him become a blue belt, it wasn’t without hard work, sacrifice, determination, and time.

Here’s why Mark Zuckerberg is a legitimate Bjj blue belt:

1. Average Time Taken

It takes an average of 1 to 3 years to earn a Bjj blue belt starting as a beginner. It took Mark Zuckerberg 3 years to achieve a Bjj blue belt, as he started during the COVID pandemic of 2020 and earned his Bjj blue belt in July 2023.

This shows that Mark Zuckerberg put time and effort into becoming a Bjj blue belt. He took the longer end of the average time taken to do so.

2. He Has Won Bjj Tournaments

Mark Zuckerberg proved that he was ready to be promoted to a Bjj blue belt as he won a gold and silver medal in the white belt divisions at the BJJ Tour tournament in May 2023.

BJJ Tour is a legitimate competition in the Bjj community, and it’s therefore no wonder that Mark was promoted to a blue belt soon after his display.

3. Coached By and Trained With Elite Practitioners

Mark Zuckerberg has been coached by and learning from the best since his Bjj journey started in mid-2020.

His head coach, Dave Camarillo, is the former Bjj head coach at the famed American Kickboxing Academy, where many of the best UFC/MMA fighters learn their trade.

Mark has also trained with professional MMA fighter, Khai Wu, who currently fights in the PFL.

He’s also rolled with Lex Friedman, a YouTuber and first-degree black belt, UFC featherweight king and Bjj black belt, Alexander Volkanovski, one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time, Israel Adesanaya, and dominant ONE submission grappling champion, Mike Muscemi.

To say Mark Zuckerberg has had some decent Bjj rolling partners and teachers is a huge understatement. 

Access to this level of coaching and learning has certainly helped him become a legitimate Bjj blue belt.

In an interview with ESPN, Zuckerberg’s coach Dave Camarillo talked about Mark in a very positive way. He said of him, “He’s amazing, he is an extremely hard worker, as everybody knows.

But a lot of people have a business and they’re successful and they have that side of their life, and rarely do they dip into the physical side, especially with something like jiu-jitsu and MMA, and have the same amount of success or even go past Day 1 or Month 1… He’s one of the best students I’ve ever had.”

4. He Practices BJJ When MMA Training

Mark Zuckerberg has further enhanced his Bjj skill and competence as he regularly trains in MMA, a combat sport in which Bjj is essential for success.

This means that he’s practicing his jiu-jitsu in and out of gi, under the rules of both Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts.

When training without a gi, as is common in MMA, Zuckerberg must adapt to a different dynamic. The lack of a gi means that grips and certain submissions are less effective or entirely unavailable. 

This forces him to focus on other aspects of grappling, such as no-gi control techniques, leg locks, and transitions that are more applicable to MMA. 

Also, a Bjj practitioner in an MMA context must always be wary of incoming strikes, which adds a layer of complexity to the grappling exchange. 

This aspect of training develops his awareness, reflexes, and ability to execute Bjj techniques under increased pressure.

FAQ About Mark Zuckerberg’s BJJ/MMA Journey

How Often Does Mark Zuckerberg Train Jiu-Jitsu?

When speaking on the Lex Friedman podcast, Mark Zuckerberg said he trains jiu-jitsu and MMA 3 or 4 times per week. 

This is likely to be jiu-jitsu twice per week and MMA twice per week.

When Did Mark Zuckerberg Start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Bjj)?

Mark Zuckerberg started Brazilian jiu-jitsu during the first COVID pandemic lockdowns in the summer of 2020.

This means he has been training Brazilian jiu-jitsu for 3 and a half years by the end of 2023.

Who Is Mark Zuckerberg’s MMA Trainer?

Mark Zuckerberg’s MMA trainer is professional MMA and PFL fighter, Khai Wu, who has an MMA record of 7-5 and a purple belt in Bjj.

Wu has been Mark’s MMA trainer since September 2022. Khai Wu was born in America and fights out of Tracy, California. Khai Wu also trains at Guerilla Jiu Jitsu, the same academy where Mark Zuckerberg trains.

Khai Wu is 5’7” tall and fights at bantamweight (135 lbs), while Mark Zuckerberg is also 5’7” tall and weighs around 155 lbs. Khau Wu’s walking weight is likely to be around 155 lbs before he cuts weight.

This makes Khai Wu a great MMA trainer for Mark Zuckerberg, as they’re a similar weight and have the same height.

On occasion, Mark Zuckerberg has also trained with Australian UFC champions and legends, Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovksi.

Mark’s abilities have been praised by UFC fighters like Conor McGregor, Alexander Volkanovski, and Sean O’Malley.

Mark Zuckerberg MMA Training

In November 2023, Mark Zuckerberg revealed on Instagram that he’d torn his ACL while sparring in MMA.

Mark was training for his first competitive MMA fight in early 2024. That will now be delayed until late 2024 at the earliest.

Here’s a short video showing Mark Zuckerberg’s MMA training/sparring with his MMA trainer, Khai Wu:

Mark Zuckerberg also famously had MMA training with UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, when Mark invited him to 

Mark Zuckerberg vs. Elon Musk: Will the Fight Happen?

No, the fight between Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk will never happen, at least not in a serious context.

The idea of a fight between tech titans Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk has been a topic of playful speculation rather than a serious proposition. 

Originating from light-hearted comments and online banter, Zuckerberg has shown a readiness to engage in such a hypothetical match, reflecting his recent dedication to MMA and BJJ training. 

However, Musk’s involvement appears to be more in line with his characteristic humor, with no real intention of turning the idea into reality. 

Given their focus on leading major technological ventures, the prospect of an actual physical bout between these two business magnates remains highly unlikely, existing more as an entertaining thought experiment for fans and the media.

In August 2023, Mark Zuckerberg said on Threads that Elon Musk isn’t serious about their fight, essentially ending any chance of a fight happening.

Here’s his full message:

“I think we can all agree Elon isn’t serious and it’s time to move on. I offered a real date. Dana White offered to make this a legit competition for charity. Elon won’t confirm a date, then says he needs surgery, and now asks to do a practice round in my backyard instead. 

If Elon ever gets serious about a real date and official event, he knows how to reach me. Otherwise, time to move on. I’m going to focus on competing with people who take the sport seriously.”

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