Competitive slapping claimed it’s first fatality one year ago when Artur Walus died from the consequences of a slap KO

Punchdown competitions pretty much redefined competitive slapping as a sport. The social media buzz was strong and it ended up reaching UFC execs who ultimately decided that competitive slapping would be their new business venture.

But Punchdown had a terrible incident happen during the 5th edition of the event. The promotion was eager to see former strongman Artur Walczak face off against Dawid “Zales” Zalewski.

The event was held in Poland on October 22nd. As is customary in slap competition, a participant can’t dodge a strike. This is why many medical professionals condemn this sport.

Walczak ended up taking a powerful blow from Zalewski straight on the chin and promptly fell on the ground behind him. The event had a medical team there who tried to tend to him but it wasn’t enough.

An ambulance was called and ended up driving him to the hospital. His condition was described as critical. Doctors induced a coma in hopes of giving his brain enough time to recover but they were unable to wake him up mid-November.

He ended up succumbing to his injuries on November 26th.

– The cause of death was multi-organ failure resulting from irreversible damage to the central nervous system – said Monika Kowalska, spokeswoman for the University Teaching Hospital in Wrocław as per polishnews.

This fatality prompted an inquiry into the legality of the event.

Walczak competed in Strongmen competitions for the majority of his life but also dabbled in MMA periodically. His MMA record consists of one loss and two wins with the last one coming in 2018.

This case brings about several interesting observations about the sport. UFC commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan slammed the sport prior to Dana White’s involvement.

Rogan also pointed out the clear flaw in the rules – whoever goes first has an unprecedented advantage.

“They just stand in front of each other and they let each other slap each other in the face. And for first of all, whoever goes first has such a monster advantage. Because they. They KO each other all the time. “

UFC’s bantamweight title contender Sean O’Malley also pointed out that the sport has a number of obvious failings.

“That Power Slap — to me, I’m like, ‘That s***’s the dumbest s*** ever. Why would I? That’s f***ed up.”

Nevada State Athletic Commission licensed the sport but they were clearly aware of Walczak’s passing,

NSAC Chairman Stephen Cloobeck requested that UFC executive Hunter Campbell make sure that nobody dies.
UFC exec Hunter Campbell responded:

“That is priority 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. That goes without saying. Honestly, one of the reasons we tested this was to really understand firsthand in person the health and safety aspect of the sport. We have a high level of comfort following that, working extensively with the commission, to make sure that we believe that safely.”

Cloobeck inquired, “You will make sure that no one has severe brain injuries going forward?”

Campbell said,

“That’s correct. That’s the other reason working with you and executive director [Jeff] Mullen, chairman. We put the health and safety requirements in place that are above and beyond basically what any other commission in the country would require.”

When White was confronted with Slap League criticism he compared it to Boxing:

“The bottom line is, in a boxing match, guys get hit with 300-400 punches in a f****** fight. These guys are going to get hit with three slaps. For these morons to be talking all the s*** that they are about the athletic commission, the athletic commission did the right thing. So did we. ”

Of course, White is clearly obtuse about the fact that the major issue with Slap competition is the lack of defense. One is required to take a slap standing still. If we compare that to MMA rules – even today, the techniques that result in tremendous damage and can’t be defended are banned.

This is why MMA still forbids 12-6 elbows and kicks/knees to the head of a grounded opponent.