Former UFC champ Tim “the Maine-iac” Sylvia is set to make his debut in SlapFIGHT Championship, America’s first regulated slap competition league, on April 22 in Oklahoma City, Okla. Though Sylvia hasn’t fought for the better part of a decade, this is a big moment for the sport and, more specifically, for SlapFIGHT. Sylvia is the first former UFC heavyweight champion to compete in this controversial new combat sport.
The CEO of SlapFIGHT, JT Tilley, expressed his excitement for Silvia’s debut, stating that he has reached a multi-fight agreement with SFC and will be facing super heavyweight contender Bulldozer (1-0 SFC) in the SFC 25 main event.
“We are extremely excited for the debut of Tim Sylvia at SlapFIGHT,” Tilley said. “Tim has joined us as a guest cornerman during our past two underground events and the excitement of the sport has captured his focus.”
Former UFC Champ Tim Sylvia’s Career Highlights
The 47-year-old Sylvia finished his mixed martial arts career with a 31-10 (1 no contest) record. He made his way into the Octagon by winning a 16-man, two-night SuperBrawl tournament in Hawaii.
Sylvia became the UFC heavyweight champion in just his second fight in the Octagon, when he defeated Ricco Rodriguez in 2002. He became champion for a second time when he defeated Andrei Arlovski in 2006.
Besides being a former UFC champion, Sylvia is known for his fights with such renowned athletes as Fedor Emelianenko, boxing champion Ray Mercer, and Olympic Gold Medal judoka Satoshi Ishii.
Before Dana White’s Power Slap there was JT Tilley’s SlapFIGHT
Combat sports fans are likely more familiar with UFC president Dana White’s version of the controversial professional slap competition than with SlapFIGHT. But it was largely due to the work that SlapFIGHT put into the sport that White was able to get his Power Slap league approved in Nevada.
Veteran combat sports promoter Tilley founded SlapFIGHT in 2017, aiming to legitimize the viral clips of unregulated slap contests that had gone viral on social media. With weight classes, uniform rules, and strict concussion protocol, SFC gained worldwide recognition and started leagues in the United Kingdom, Nigeria, Colombia, and Morocco.
Despite the initial reluctance of state athletic commissions to accept slapping as a sport, Tilley and his team created a regulatory body to maintain safety and fairness in competition, with SlapFIGHT events now being televised in over 40 countries and having received over 1 billion viral views online, according to the promotion.
SlapFIGHT 25, featuring Sylvia vs. Bulldozer, will be broadcast live on pay-per-view with the rebroadcast available for purchase on FITE and SlapFIGHT.live. International viewers can catch the broadcast on SPORT1.
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