Slapping competition: New sport approved in Nevada

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The Nevada Athletic Commission has approved a league for a controversial sport in which one player has already died. It's about the Power Slap slap league, according to TheGuardian.

Slap competition: New sport approved in Nevada

Photo: IStock

While much remains unclear about the new league, the slap is what it looks like: two people take turns hitting each other on the head with an open hand.

Last week, the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted in Las Vegas – a city known for its carefully considered decisions – to control the slapping league.

Videos from this year's one event, the Slapping Championship, show some pretty brutal palm contact with a face. Some punches result in a knockout. Sitting aside, Arnold Schwarzenegger comments: “Thank God it wasn't me who got slapped.”

Hunter Campbell, UFC commercial director, said his team spent a year working with commission representatives on the development of rules for the league, based on the rules of mixed martial arts (MMA). “It made sense to go into regulation before the start of the sport for all the obvious reasons – #1, the health and safety of the participants,” he said.

The safety rules will include requirements for protective equipment such as mouth guards and earplugs, as well as rules for punching people in the face. Campbell and officials also called for blood tests, brain scans and medical staff on site.

But even MMA enthusiasts have serious doubts.

The main problem is the lack of defensive action. “All offense and no defense,” writes Trent Rainsmith on UFC news site Bloody Elbow. – You can usually see participants get severe concussions or pass out from the blows.” In his Substack the Fighting Life, journalist Ben Fowlkes describes the sport as “what you get if you let 13-year-old boys invent a new sport.”

On Twitter, Luke Thomas, Combat Sports Analyst for CBS, wrote: “If boxing is about punching, not getting punched, then slapping is the opposite, where getting hit is deliberately orchestrated and unobstructed. The Nevada Commission is pretty shameless.” Simon Samano of USA Today wrote, “You might as well be kicking each other in the balls.”

Slapping has been around in various forms for years. But the sport's popularity rose in the early days of the pandemic thanks to viral videos. Poland's Artur “Walusz” Walczak was knocked out several times in an October tournament last year and died in hospital the following month following a medically induced coma, Rainsmith notes.

UFC President Dane White has himself been the subject of much controversy. He told the fighters to “shut up and fight” and supported the organization's decision to introduce ex-NFL player Greg Hardy, who was convicted of domestic violence, although the charges were dropped on appeal. He is a strong supporter of Donald Trump and spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Campbell said the Power Slap League hopes to have a “major broadcast partner” by the end of the year. It has not yet been decided when the tournament will start.