Slap fighting is a brutal sport that originated in Russia and has been gaining popularity in the United States as a competitive reality show (Power Slap). Slap Fighting involves two opponents, a striker, and a Defender, who slap each other’s face with an open palm in turns until one is unable to continue.
Slap fighting gained prominence during the COVID-19 pandemic when their videos started to wrack up millions of views. Some prominent UFC figures like UFC president Dana White, Counsel Frank Lamicella, and Hunter Campbell, Chief Business Officer have superintended Power Slap. However, American slap-fighting leagues have been in existence since 2017. This is the same year that White was moved to televise the Slap Fight event.
Rules of Slap Fight
In a Slap match, the opponents get their scores depending on how well they absorb the slaps and the damage they can inflict. Each slap match goes up to ten rounds, with each competitor receiving and delivering one slap per round. However, If the person receiving the slap (defender) fails to recover from the slap within sixty seconds, then he/she loses the match.
It’s important to note that defenders are also penalized for flinching, which includes turning their bodies, raising their shoulders, or ducking their heads to protect their faces. On the other hand, the person slapping (striker) must have both of their feet on the ground before slapping the defender. The heel of the striker’s hand, palm, and fingers must hit the defender's face at the same time.
Strikers are allowed to “wind-up,” or try the trajectory of their swing, but not more than two times. However, they have to tell the defender and the referee the number of swings they are planning to take. Note that Strikers are also penalized for winding up or slapping inappropriately, lifting their feet, and hitting the defender’s mouth, ears, temple, and eyes.
Is Slap Fight a legal Sport?
Although Slap Fight has been criticized as being unsafe, Dana White’s Power Slap became the first regulated American Slap Fighting League. This is after the Nevada State Athletics Commission agreed to oversee the organization.
How Bad is Slap Fighting?
Slap fighting has often been criticized for being unsafe for its contestants. Slap Fight has caused at least one death of Artur Walczack, a Polish slap fighter, who suffered a brain bleed in a match. Artur died of multiple organ failure on 26 November 2021. According to experts, repeated slap hits to the head during a slap fight can cause death. One can die from a slap if he/she develops internal bleeding or swelling in the brain.
However, Dana White slammed all the slap fight critics by calling them ‘’morons’’ claiming that Slap Fight is even safer than boxing. He argued that boxers take hundreds of punches during the match while slap fighters take three to five hits.
Hunter Campbell, Power Slap co-owner and UFC chief business officer, also supported the safety of slap fight noting that its regulations make it safer. Campbell also noted that all Power Slap fighters are supposed to wear mouthguards and earplugs. Slap fighters are also provided with officials who catch them before hitting the floor in case of a knockout. He added that conducts like hitting the mouth or eyes are penalized and that they also divide their competitors into MMA weight classes.
How popular is Slap Fighting?
With the rise of social media platforms, Slap Fight competition videos have gone viral and are being widely viewed and shared. Normally, these videos showcase intense and humorous moments, which capture the attention of viewers causing them to be widely spread. Slap Fighting is one of the most watched content on TikTok with over 3.5 billion watching it from #SlapFight.
Logan Paul, an internet personality, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, a professional American actor and filmmaker, hosted Slap Fighting Championship, an unregulated Slap Fighting League, in March 2022 at the Arnold Classic Sports Festival. Some of these celebrities have also promoted the slap fight making it more popular.
Slap Fight: The Next Big Thing
The slapfight sport has continued to grow despite the stiff criticism from different people and medical experts. The sport has been featuring numerous matches and awarding middleweight, heavyweight, light heavyweight, and welterweight titles.
Besides, the commission had already approved the amended rules that will better define what a legal slap constitutes so that they can minimize serious injuries.