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Türkiye proposes Roman theatre for staging long-hyped Musk-Zuckerberg cage fight

1 min read
This aerial photo, taken on Aug. 17, 2023, shows a panoramic view of Aspendos in Antalya, Türkiye. (Mustafa Kaya/Handout via Xinhua)

by Burak Akinci

While it is not certain yet if a cage fight between tech giants Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg will take place, Türkiye has proposed an ancient Roman theatre for staging the potential duel, reminiscent of the gladiator times.

A Turkish tourism insider has invited the two magnates to stage their much-anticipated showdown at the famed theatre in Türkiye’s southern ancient Greco-Roman city of Aspendos.

Murat Toktas, vice president of the Turkish Hoteliers Federation and chairperson of the Black Sea Tourism Operators Association, offered Zuckerberg, the chairman and CEO of Meta, and Musk, owner of the X platform, formerly known as Twitter, to stage their showdown in the ring at the historic site.

“This is an open invitation to Mark and Elon, and Aspendos is ready. We are waiting for them here,” Toktas told Xinhua on Thursday in an interview.

Toktas said Aspendos is the best venue for the potential showdown as “it is one of the world’s best-preserved theatres of antiquity and most sought-after tourism destinations.”

However, his proposal has sparked disputes in the archaeological community as some experts believed a Musk-Zuckerberg cage match might harm the ancient theatre.

“We are extending an invitation, but the final decision rests naturally with experts,” Toktas added.

Aspendos, located in Türkiye’s Mediterranean resort city of Antalya, boasts sunny beaches, numerous hotels and resorts, and archaeological sites, attracting millions of foreign visitors every year.

The Aspendos Theatre has welcomed staged gladiator fights between actors and performers to attract tourists over the past years.

The bloody gladiator fights, staged between slaves or slaves and ferocious animals, were a prevailing entertainment form in the Roman era. The Aspendos Theatre re-enacts the dramatized fights with hand-made clothes and weapons.

However, questions remain about whether or where the long-hyped cage fight will be held as a duel rages between the two tech titans on social media.

Earlier this summer, Musk publicly challenged his fellow tech billionaire Zuckerberg to a cage match. Earlier this month, Musk said the cage fight would be held at an “epic location” with an ancient Roman theme, as Italy indicated it was ready to stage the showdown.

But media reports believed that the possibility of this cage match appears to be no more after Zuckerberg dismissed Musk for allegedly delaying their anticipated showdown in the ring. The Meta CEO posted on Threads on Aug. 13 that “I think we can all agree Elon isn’t serious, and it’s time to move on.”

Nevertheless, if Aspendos is eventually chosen, it would give a “major boost” to regional tourism, Serven Demir, a tour operator from Antalya, told Xinhua, since it would be a fight “potentially watched by hundreds of millions on social media around the globe.” 

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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