As the 2019 novel coronavirus, better known as COVID-19, continues to bring the sports world to a complete halt, a strange form of combative competition known as the Russian Slapping Championships still managed to take place amidst the ongoing pandemic.
The bizarre Russian sporting phenomenon came to life last year when Vasily Khamotskiy — dubbed ‘The Dumpling’ for his porky frame and alleged appetite — won the inaugural competition at the Siberian Power Show in March 2019. Footage of Dumpling knocking out his opponent with a single slap went viral, drawing attention from the likes of Joe Rogan and Dana White.
Now 12 months removed from Khamotskiy’s victory, the Siberian farmer turned slapping champion returned for the latest instalment of the tournament, this time against Wágner da Conceição Martins, better known as Zuluzinho, a fighter who rose to prominence during the PRIDE FC era, losing bout to fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Butterbean.
The event took place in an unnamed prison prior to Russia’s government imposing a full lockdown and travel restrictions due to COVID-19.
The two sizeable competitors each landed five separate slaps before the contest was deemed a draw. As a result, the prize money of 150,000 rubles (approx. $2,000) was split evenly between the competitors.