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Viral sensation slap fighting to follow UFC model in Nevada

After becoming a viral hit on social media platforms, major players behind the UFC are looking to bring slap fighting into the mainstream.

The Nevada Athletic Commission Tuesday unanimously voted to allow Schiaffo, LLC to host sanctioned slap fights in Nevada. Schiaffo includes UFC president Dana White, UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein and Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, former owners of the UFC.

It is believed Nevada is the first state to move toward regulating the sport, according to Hunter Campbell, UFC chief business officer, who provided a presentation to the commission.

After taking place unregulated across the world, slap fighting, with the involvement of the athletic commission, will make safety and fighter health more of a focus. Weight classes and other UFC-esque regulations are expected to be added to the sport in Nevada.

“I think for the health and safety of our constituents I think we have to do that,” said Jeff Mullen, NAC executive director.

Rules only allow competitors to strike each other in the face. Hits on the temple, eyes and ears are prohibited.

“For a lack of a better term, a slap zone on the face,” Campbell said. “It involves a vary narrow section on the face. Anything outside of it is a foul.”

Fights include referees and inspectors to ensure strikes are legal and that competitors will follow the set rules.

“(It) would definitely be under the UFC model,” Campbell said.

After viewing a beta test of a slap boxing match, Stephen Cloobeck, the chairman of the athletic commission, said he’s confident it will prove successful and safe.

“I saw the video footage. It’s highly entertaining,” Cloobeck said. “It’s another way of growing the industry and I think it’s great… I like what I see.”

Initial plans call for hosting slap-fight competitions by the end of the year at UFC Apex without a crowd. Eventually crowds will be allowed to attend slap fights at Apex, with a deal in the works with a major television network partner to broadcast fights.

“We have so much built in production capability there (Apex), it sort of makes sense,” Campbell said. “I anticipate once we get our feet under us is opening up to the public. It’s another revenue generator.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

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