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What is Slap Fighting? Power Slap launches

In a controversial move, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is going all-in on insanity, venturing into slap fighting with The Power Slap League

In a controversial move, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is going all-in on insanity, venturing into slap fighting with The Power Slap League
Carmen MandatoAFP

You may be forgiven for thinking that the UFC seems like the world’s biggest proponent for having combat sports banned on humanitarian grounds. For years, MMA has made its hay on the idea that boxing is too rigidly governed, too strict in their rules, and that “real” fighting should contain a range of disciplines rather than only one. Along the way, they have dodged accusations that opening the fighting styles up has made the sport more dangerous than boxing, even as medical research bore this out.

Now the UFC has gone one step further, doubling down on their recklessness by announcing the creation of the Power Slap League. Dana White has green lit the project and will provide a televised platform for this most ridiculous “sport”.

What is slap fighting?

Imagine a four-year-old invented the rules for a combat sport. Whatever you have in your head, you are probably not far away from the reality. Slap fighting is where two opponents stand at arm’s length from each other and take turns slapping each other in the face. They are not allowed to move, flinch, or defend themselves in any way.

One participant has already died in slap fighting, when Polish strongman Artur “Waluś” Walczak was hospitalized after competing in a slap fighting gala and succumbed to his injuries a few weeks later.

Fighters who are unable to be licensed in other states or territories are often cleared to fight by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. And so it is for the Power Slap League.

It would seem that this sport is designed specifically to concuss its contestants. Perhaps the NFL will share some of their research with the UFC, if only White would agree to read it.

With all joking aside, the most prominent danger of slap fighting is the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive brain condition that is closely associated with receiving multiple blows to the head. Medical professionals have long warned athletes about the impact contact sports can have on your health.

Will the UFC prioritise its competitors’ safety?

In what is perhaps a sop to the Nevada officials, the Power Slap League has promised to “eliminate some of the more archaic aspects of the sport that exist on the lower levels, like two opponents with vastly different weights and matches that last many rounds.”

UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell continues, “The rules will address fouls, permitted areas to slap, and safety requirements like mouthguards and earplugs.”

A few things are certain here. First, slap fighting is not a valid sport. Second, slap fighting is insanely popular. And third, Dana White and the UFC will make a ton of money from it. And in the end, that is all that will matter.