Details on the slap fighting regulations have been updated; NAC may allow knocked out fighters to continue


The Nevada Athletic Commission has released version 1. 01 of its regulations for the recently approved slap-fighting league headed by UFC President Dana White.

The commission voted unanimously to regulate the league this past October and in this month presented the initial rules for slap fighting, which add finer detail to the requirements of slap competitors and the officials who oversee the contest. These include corners and multiple referees. They also have “catchers”, who “use their best efforts to minimize the impact of a participant’s head on the Power Slap Stage wherever possible and to prevent the participants falling off the Power Slap Stage.”

At a meeting earlier this month to approve the regulations, NAC Chairman Stephen Cloobeck asked UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell, “You will make sure no one dies?”

The text defines rounds, weight classes and legal and illegal methods, as well as medical and judging requirements.

Matches pit a “striker” against a “defender” in a contest up to 10 rounds – Dana White’s Power Slap league promotes three- and five-round matches – with the striker getting 30 seconds to deliver “a permitted slap to the permitted target area compliant with the wind-up” before switching roles with the defender, who then gets 30 seconds to recover. After the striker has completed his “permitted slap”, the defense gets the same time as the striker. The promoter may also add “break time in between rounds (for example, without limitation, if open scoring is used),” per the text.

Before slapping, the competitor must “verbally and with hand signals and referee confirmation” signal what hand they’re going to use to slap and whether the slap will be on a 1-, 2- or 3-count. A 1-count means no windup, while a 2- and 3-count respectively mean one and two “practice” motions before the slap.

While slapping, competitors are only allowed to use the “entire striking of the fingers and palm above the wrist,” and “must make contact and impact simultaneously.” The regulations add “strikers may not lead impact with the carpal bones.” Strikers must keep both feet on the ground, can’t pivot on the balls of their feet when slapping, and must stay within a “striker box” outlined by the promoter.

As for the permitted target area, it consists “of the cheek, tracing from the jawline but excluding the chin (i.e., the area measured from the lips downward) and ear, to the height of the beginning of the eye, below and excluding the temple, then to the middle of the face on the outside of the eye and back to the starting point on the jawline only.”

Fingers can contact other areas of the head or face as “extensions” of a slap. But, any deviation from the target or slapping technique is considered “clubbing foul .”

According to the rules, a defender must also hold on to a “Power Slap Stick” behind their back with both hands “with their arms extended towards the ground” while getting slapped. It is a foul for a defender to flinch or tuck their chin into their neck, raise their shoulders, or use “any other method to block the strike.” The first infraction gets a warning, and strikers can then opt to slap the defender again. After that, a defender loses points for subsequent fouls.

*Medical experts expressed concern about the safety and security of Power Slap League participants. They cited the inability to defend themselves during competition. A Polish slap fighter died in November 2021 after a slap fight, according to Polish News.

Matches are judged on the 10-point must system, equally weighing the damage of slaps and defender’s ability to recover. Referees are accompanied by a secondary referee to call “stepping fouls and to assist in lower body positioning.” A replay official is also in play and may overturn the referees’ calls if there is “clear and convincing evidence” to do so.

Rules announced by the league named a standard list of finishes possible for matches: decision, KO, TKO, disqualification, no-contest and technical decision. Fighters who are knocked down are given a 10-count, during which the defender “must rise to their feet and establish their fitness to continue as determined by the referee, and confirmed by the ringside physician.” If they can’t, the striker wins by knockout.

Referees may also decide to stop a match if they feel that a contestant is not participating in an intelligent manner or has the capability of doing so.

However, the rules provide a window to certain participants who have been stopped. The Power Slap League’s initial announcement did not include a provision that promoters could incorporate for opponents who were knocked out in round one by their opponent “by virtue” of the coin toss. The NAC text states that a promoter can allow a defender continue to defend if they’re able to recover in the two minutes following the knockout.

“A clock of 2 minutes starts when the referee announces that the match is over.” The rule says. The Defender has two minutes to rest, assess their fitness for the next round, and then be cleared by their supervising doctor. They can also complete one permitted slap on their opponent. The match will be declared draw if the opponent’s return strike ends in technical knockouts or knockouts. If the return strike has any other result, then the Match result stands.”

The medical requirements of the participants are similar to those for boxers or MMA fighters. They must undergo brain scans and eye exams as well as screening for bloodborne diseases in order to obtain a license. Events are staffed by a supervising physician and “one additional physician or licensed physician assistant” along with EMTs and a suture specialist.

Nitin Sethi, a member of the Association of Ringside Physicians has sharply criticised the role of physicians at the events. He said “I don’t know what a doctor is supposed to oversee here except being the watcher of concussive injury occurring under his/her watch .”


For individuals hoping to hop into a slap-fight on short notice, there may be restrictions. According to the rules, they can’t compete if six days have elapsed since their last match if the match was not more than three rounds, eight days have elapsed if the match lasted four to six rounds, and 10 days if the match lasted seven or more rounds.

A link to the full list of rules can be found here. According to White, a eight-episode season of the Power Slap League is set to debut on TBS. The league is owned by White, former UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta, UFC COO Lawrence Epstein and Craig Pilligian, who partnered with the UFC on the long-running The Ultimate Fighter reality series. According to reports, the Power Slap League will be similar in format to TUF.