From media to politics, heavy hitters spoiling for a fight

Dalton Delan
4 min readAug 4, 2023

Mixed martial arts cage matches of the rich and famous. Who knew it’s a thing? When 30 million Instagram users signed up on day one for Threads, Mark Zuckerberg’s clone of Elon Musk’s Twitter, it was the digital equivalent of a slap.

Take that, Muskovites! Name your second.

What would I pay to see the Harvard dropout employ his newly bulked musculature to send the older combatant “right to the moon” without hitching a ride on a SpaceX flight? The sky’s the limit. I want front-row, no matter what Ticketmaster’s tricky resale platforms charge. After all, Taylor Swift and Bruce Springsteen might play great in stadiums where the sound systems can bring on tinnitus, but moment for moment, sweat droplet by sweat droplet, nothing beats the spectacle of corporate titans battling it out.

“Succession” is in the rear-view mirror, so we need some new meat for the colosseum. Scratch that heart in its hallowed walls.

Why stop there? Billionaire bros got to go. I sense a trend. Let’s get creative. If you, like me, can’t figure out whether Mickey Mouse is a gay old rodent, or why Ron DeSantis is poking holes in such a cheesy way, let’s think about Disney honcho Bob Iger entering the cage with DeSantis. In their case, the weapons can be paper cuts: Disney stock certificates versus primary ballots. See which burns faster. We know DeSantis likes to smoke his smores at Fahrenheit 451 on a grill fueled by books outside schools and libraries. Iger is a cooler customer. He can cover it all on his company’s faltering ESPN franchise, maybe reverse a ratings slide.

It’s unclear if we’ll get to see a gator fight on the debate stage between the red-headed stranger, as he tries on prison stripes in his favorite dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman, and any of the low-polling pretenders to the porcelain throne of the GOP nomination. Instead, I say we match up POTUS 45 with Nathan’s July 4th winner Joey Chestnut in a burgers-and-dogs chow-down. Can Trump scarf up 62 Big Macs? Let’s improve the odds and make them sliders. Will it be Chestnut roasting on an open fire, or a Trump bump like a late-term pregnancy? Alka Seltzer, Alka Seltzer! I hear fists thumping tables in the mess hall at Allenwood.

Let’s be ecumenical and broaden our horizons. Marching on Moscow is so yesterday. All Vladimir Putin’s troubles seem so far away. But insurrection isn’t gone, it’s only sleeping. Keeper of the Wagner files Yevgeny Prigozhin still spoils for a fight. Belarus won’t sponsor it. So let’s get back to the rumble in the jungle in neutral Kinshasa. Next year will be the 50th anniversary of that legendary bout. And Putin is not immune to naked six-pack abs selfies. Doubtful his former chef has stayed as trim in the midsection, but no matter. Strap both of them to FSB interrogation chairs and see who can absorb the most Novichok and still mouth off.

Ever since Title IX, women have joined the ranks of sports competitors in a more equal way, though it has been an uphill climb. It was good to see, at the recent Wimbledon, that some of the most exciting tennis matches were among the women. So we shall not fail to take note here of the possibilities for distaff matchups in the C-suite and high-net-worth grudge derby.

We have all been blessed with the sorry spectacle of Marjorie Taylor Greene trash-talking fellow Representative Lauren Boebert on the floor of Congress, terming her a little female dog — or words to that effect — and refusing to back down from that veterinary analysis. Let’s have them face off atop Stone Mountain one hot August night in Georgia.

Then there are the less obvious possibilities. Nancy Pelosi can hold her own with just about anyone. The speaker’s chair is now occupied by Kevin McCarthy, who has to keep the Freedom Caucus sated, just as Pelosi had to handle AOC and the progressive wing. Let’s not forget how Billie Jean King trounced Bobby Riggs in the battle of the sexes. Speaker McCarthy was a tight end, but I don’t feel even touch football would be a fair fight. Former Speaker Pelosi has mangled a bowling metaphor or two, so I say we pair them at the lanes and see who pins who. Strike while the ball is hot in the mixed-metaphor department.

As for me, I’d take on David Zaslav of Warner Discovery on the tennis court on behalf of all journalists offended when an unflattering profile of Zaslav in GQ was pulled after publication. There’s another conspiracy for Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to inoculate us against. Watch me bagel the Zas, New York style.



Dalton Delan

Winner of three Emmy Awards, Dalton Delan pens biweekly The Unspin Room, which began August 7, 2016 in The Berkshire Eagle; it has appeared in 50+ newspapers.