Slap Fighting is a Thing. What Kind of Thing?

Now, That’s a Slap in the Face!

Slap fighting

Will Smith’s slap of Chris Rock was soooo last year! Please, girlfriend! Today slap fighting is an official sport.

Yes, that’s right. Slap fighting is a thing and the Nevada Athletic Commission regulates it. That’s the same agency that regulates all manner of unarmed combat in the Silver State including boxing, kickboxing, mixed martial arts, and now apparently slap fighting.

Slap Fighting Explained

And exactly what is slap fighting? Well, apparently, the “sport” consists of two opponents taking turns striking each other in the face while standing in a set position.

Slaps must be delivered with an open, flat hand below the eyes and above the chin. Those being slapped (the slapees, I presume they’re called) may not flinch, raise their shoulders or tuck in their chins.

After being slapped, the competitor has 60 seconds to recover and get back into position before it’s their turn to slap.

Fights not ending in a knockout last three rounds and go to the judges’ decision. Judges award a winner based on a 10-point system evaluating the slap strikers’ effectiveness as well as the slap receivers’ reaction and recovery time.

Fighters are separated into different weight and gender divisions like in other combat sports.

Sounds simple, no? But not so fast.

This is a Sport?

The Nevada Athletic Commission also regulates the slap fighting matches. No Wild West slap fests will do, no siree!

There are even slap sports leagues including the powerful Power Slap League. And where there are sports, there must be televised events, right?

In this case, there was a short-lived series, “Power Slap: Road to the Title” which aired on TBS. The first four episodes averaged more than a quarter million slap-happy viewers.

Those numbers weren’t good enough for the ratings gods and at the end of the first eight-episode season, TSB pulled the plug on the show. (Dare I say it? I must. A slap in the face, no doubt, for the Power Slap League!)

Slap Fighting Woes

Ratings weren’t the only problem.

Apparently, many competitors showed concussion-like symptoms. Medical experts expressed alarm. Two US Congressmen expressed outrage and called for an investigation.

In response, Power Slap League President Frank Lamicella assured everyone that there have been “no major injuries” among the first 25 approved matches.

Still, the head of the Nevada Athletic Commission issued a warning: if there’s a “clamp down on the carpal bone hitting the cheek first has got to be the zero tolerance, It’s over at that point.”

I’m not personally clear on what that means, but I assume the pros do. So, slappers, consider yourselves warned — medically and professionally.

More Problems

Meanwhile, the sport’s controversies abound.

Early on, a high-profile promoter and his wife were caught — on video — slapping each other during a New Year’s Eve argument. The man publicly apologized. He also admitted that the timing (this was pre-TV show launch) of the incident amid his promotion efforts was “ironic and horrible.”

I personally think more than the timing was “terrible,” but that said, I also believe the promoter’s PR savvy was lacking. He could have claimed since both he and wifey were trading blows that they were training to join the Power Slap League and that since no clamping down on the carpal bone occurred, all was fair in power slapping and media promotion!

Oh, Will Smith, look what you’ve started. Sports slapping events. What’s next? Kickboxing kittens? Do-or-die tug-of-wars at Neiman Marcus designer sales? (Oh, wait. That last one’s real!)


Photo Credit: AP News


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