Chess.com Comes To Las Vegas In UFC X Crossover


The Chess.com team has been popping up all over the world recently and members of the team spent last Friday and Saturday promoting chess to mixed martial arts (MMA) fans in a crossover at UFC X.

Hosted at the 200,000 square foot Las Vegas Convention Center, UFC X was a two-day, immersive fan experience where attendees gained exclusive access to UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) legends such as Dustin Poirier, Holly Holm, and Daniel Cormier, enjoyed live stage programming, and, for some, the opportunity to “knock out” Collegiate Chess Founder Joe Lee in the mental equivalent of MMA, blitz chess.

Lee grapples with a challenger. Photo: Kara Wise/Chess.com.

The chess activation included a giant chess set and several tournament boards, and the space served as a hub for ticket holders to come and test out their skills, play against friends, or try to win prizes for defeating Chess.com staff members.

UFC X preceded UFC 303, which was broadcast live from the T-Mobile arena. Photo: Kara Wise/Chess.com.

While UFC and chess might seem like an unusual crossover, several top fighters have an affinity for chess and have previously drawn parallels between the strategic aspects of the two sports. Former UFC fighter Mark Hunt once said the following about the royal game: “With chess, there’s so many different moves and you can make one wrong move and it sets you back a few times. It’s exactly like fighting.”

Moves made with fighting intent. Photo: Kara Wise/Chess.com.

Former UFC Bantamweight Champion Aljamain Sterling is also a chess fan and he took this one step further when he filmed a YouTube collaboration with the internet’s chess teacher IM Levy Rozman, aka GothamChess. 

UFC Welterweight Randy Brown, who was featured at the event, is also a chess enthusiast. Recently, he took up lessons with FM James Canty III, which you can follow in the video below.


Given that an estimated 605 million people worldwide are said to play chess regularly, it is no surprise that the game ebbs into other sports. Chess.com has already collaborated with The National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), and several basketball players and footballers since the chess boom of 2020.

This crossover with the UFC is merely the beginning of a string of potential partnerships that will be explored between the sports as we move one step closer to figuring out which sportsperson is the best at chess. Other chess-playing UFC champions are Ilia Topuria (current), Israel Adesanya (former), and Tony Ferguson (former).

Chess.com x UFC X. Photo: Kara Wise/Chess.com.



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