Talk of Slap Fighting has worked its way into the sporting and betting worlds after the premier of the new TBS reality show, “Power Slap.”
Dana White, President of the UFC, also runs the Power Slap League. The League is sanctioned and licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
What is Slap Fighting, exactly? You can probably hazard a good guess.
Slap Fighting Rules
Two competitors — “Strikers” — stand on either side of a podium. A coin toss determines who gets the first slap. “Fights” are played out in three rounds, with each striker getting one open-hand slap per round. The Striker has 30 seconds after the round starts to deliver the slap, and the opponent has 30 seconds to recover.
There are strict rules on positioning, too. The defender must stand with their feet parallel and within the zone taped out on the floor. Shoulders must be square, chin up, and both hands must be behind their back.
The Striker must keep their feet within the outlined zone. Their feet must stay planted on the floor. Prior to actually slapping, they have to tell the ref which hand they will use and how many “wind-ups” they will use.
Legal slaps are open-handed, landing on the cheek below the eye but above the chin. The Striker’s entire hand must hit at the same time (so no smacking with the palm first, for example). Defenders cannot flinch. Penalties can include warnings, point deductions, and full disqualifications. Judges call the match by decision if both fighters remain standing after three rounds.
As you can probably imagine reading those rules, Slap Fighting is absolutely brutal, and it has drummed up plenty of controversies.
Can You Bet on Slap Fighting?
It’s a possibility. But is it right?
Currently, you cannot bet on the Power Slap League.
I reached out to a handful of sportsbooks asking for comment on this. Most refused to comment, and some didn’t respond at all.
Given its current trajectory, it’s feasible that Slap Fighting could come to sportsbooks. It’s a sanctioned league with specific rules and regulations. It has the backing of the UFC president. Checking those boxes puts Slap Fighting well on its way to becoming bettable.
However, amidst the discussion surrounding the sport, there may be a lot of pushback from bettors and perhaps even operators.
In short, it remains to be seen whether you will be able to bet on Slap Fighting.
“Violence Porn”: A Step in the Wrong Direction
If you read the above — or worse, if you watched any footage of Slap Fighting on your own — and felt a tad disgusted, you’re not alone. I find the “sport” hard to stomach. I’m not a UFC guy, and I generally don’t bother with any sport that involves people wailing on each other.
However, I can understand the intricacies of a sport like boxing or MMA, wherein there are years of training involved, known techniques are deployed, and there’s a certain beauty to it. Still not for me, but I can appreciate it in a distant, disconnected way while still feeling bad for athletes who suffer trauma from the sport.
Then you have the ongoing issues with brain injuries in the NFL. That’s a separate can of worms I won’t open here, but many have brought it up when considering whether Slap Fighting is ethical.
MMA fighters and coaches have spoken out against the Power Slap League, with some calling it “violence porn.”
In my opinion, the existence of violent sports should deter us from distilling such events down to their most violent essence. Just because we already enjoy a bevy of dangerous sports doesn’t mean it’s right to add one more to the list.