Slap Fighting – Combat Sports Hidden Gem

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Perhaps you have seen a video or two while perusing YouTube of very large men slapping each other in what appears to be some kind of organized event. You thought to yourself, “Why am I watching this?”, and moved on. Then, you saw the likes of Logan Paul enter a similar style event. You ask yourself, “What is actually going on here?”. The answer is slap fighting. Do not worry, we have done the research and are ready to tell you all about it.

What is Slap Fighting?

Slap Fighting is a combat sport, or at least, a self-proclaimed combat sport. The origins of slap fighting are rather blurry but the concept itself has been a long-time practice and has had its place in popular media. However, its competitive style tournaments are much more modern. The era of modern slap fighting popularity was ushered in by Russian tournaments that pitted competitors against each other in competition. Winners of these tournaments would receive prize money, respect, perhaps a title belt or trophy, but above all…glory, for being the hardest slapping man in town.

Vasiliy Khamotisky, better known as “Dumpling”, is one of the most well-known competitive slappers from around the world. He gained his popularity through his massive slapping power that incapacitated his opponents. The slapping star has even shared the table with MMA oddity Zuluzinho in perhaps one of the more interesting moments of combat sports in 2020.

Competitive Slap Fighting Goes International

Through social media outlets like YouTube, competitive slap fighting grew to become an international phenomenon. In the United States, SlapFIGHT Championship, a competitive slap fighting organization was born. “America’s #1 Slap Fighting Organization” joined YouTube in 2014 and is headed by CEO JT Tilley.

In a video posted on April 28th, 2021, Tilley announced the creation of the World Slap Fighting Alliance, a union between SlapFIGHT and PunchDown, a Polish slap fighting league. Tilley announced that through this formation the organizations, “..are going to work together to build this sport and hopefully usher it into 2022 as a mainstream sport.”

International Merger

The formation of the World Slap Fighting Alliance is the biggest moment in the history of the combat sport. The merger poses an interesting challenge as the two leagues have different rules. Tilley goes on to explain in the video, “We don’t have the same ruleset. We don’t have the same, uh, type of athletes. We have weight classes in the United States. They haven’t had weight classes there…course, they have a limit on the amount of rounds that they do in their title fights; we do not.”

This challenge does not appear to bother Tilley, though; as he goes on in the video stating, “The more we talked, the more we realized it’s going to be much more difficult to build this sport away from each other, than together. And so, for lack of a better term, we sort of formed the alliance because, uh, working together has always been better in my experience.”

The video goes on for another twenty-five-plus minutes explaining a new ranking system, rule unification and changes, weight classes, upcoming PPVs, world expansion, media opportunities, among other items.

The Next Big Thing?

Slap fighting might not be the first thing that comes to mind when someone thinks ‘combat sports’; however, this fresh alternative brings about a breath of fresh air into the combat sports community. In its infancy, the UFC was to be no holds barred combat that surrounded its combatants with an electric fence surrounded by alligators. This same UFC is now the premier mixed martial arts organization of the world.  Who knows what slap fighting may look like in five years. Will you be watching slap fighting?

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Brian Knight is a contributing writer and active editor for MMASucka since November 2020. He is currently authoring his first book.

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