March 15, 2024

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‘Like 13-year-olds Invented A Sport’: Face-slapping League Gets Go-ahead In Vegas

3 min read
‘Like 13-year-olds Invented A Sport': Face-slapping League Gets Go-ahead In Vegas

The controversial sport, in which one participant has already died, will now be governed by Nevada’s athletic commission.

Start the Will Smith jokes now: the Power Slap League has been given the go-ahead by the much-maligned president of the UFC, Dana White.

Even though there are still many unknowns regarding the new league, slap fighting is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: two opponents face one another and alternately slap each other on the side of the head with an open hand.

The slap-fighting league will be governed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which last week approved in Las Vegas, a city known for its thoughtful voting.

Videos from one competition, the Slap Fighting Championship, this year show some fairly brutal hand-to-face contact while the victim merely stands there and takes it. A knockout can result from some blows. Seated on the sidelines, Arnold Schwarzenegger weighs in: “Thank God I wasn’t the one who received the blow.”

The league’s rules were developed over the course of a year in collaboration with commission officials, according to Hunter Campbell, a chief business officer of the UFC. These rules were based on those used in mixed martial arts (MMA). “It made all the sense in the world to go toward regulation before the sport’s commencing, for all the obvious reasons – No 1, the health and safety of the competitors,” he told The safety rules will specify the use of earplugs and mouthguards as well as restrictions on which parts of the face can be slapped. Campbell and officials also demanded on-site medical staff, brain scans, and blood tests.

The primary concern: “​​It’s all offense and no defense,” writes Trent Reinsmith from Bloody Elbow, a UFC news website. “The blows frequently cause competitors to suffer severe concussions or pass out completely.” In his Substack, the Fighting Life, the journalist Ben Fowlkes describes the sport as “what you’d get if you let 13-year-old boys invent a new sport”.

On Twitter, Luke Thomas, a combat sports analyst for CBS, wrote: “In contrast to boxing, which emphasizes hitting and avoiding being hit, slap fighting emphasizes getting hit while removing any obstacles. The Nevada commission is remarkably shameless.” USA Today’s Simon Samano posted: “It could just as easily be a kick in the nuts.”

Slap fighting has been around for a long time in different forms; in the early 2000s, Fox Sports made fun of it. However, with the aid of viral videos, it gained support during the early stages of the pandemic. Last year, a Polish competitor, Artur “Waluś” According to Reinsmith, Walczak was repeatedly knocked out during an event in October and passed away the following month in the hospital after being placed in a medically induced coma.

White himself has been at the center of many debates. He has told fighters concerned with UFC pay to “shut up and fight” and backed the organization’s decision to feature the ex-NFL player Greg Hardy was found guilty of domestic abuse, but the conviction was overturned on appeal. He spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention and is a fervent supporter of Donald Trump.

Campbell said the Power Slap League hopes to have a “major broadcast partner” by year’s end. When to start slapping is still up in the air.


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