The team behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship is betting big on Power Slap, a new and extremely dangerous competition with many detractors. The t

In Las Vegas, a Violent Sport Sparks Controversy

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2024-07-10 15:30:10

The team behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship is betting big on Power Slap, a new and extremely dangerous competition with many detractors.

The team behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship is betting big on Power Slap, a new and extremely dangerous competition with many detractors.

When the meaty palm of Vasil Kamotskii, a 360-pound, 34-year-old pig farmer from Siberia known as Dumpling, struck the tender cheek of the man who faced him, it sounded like a thunderclap. Dumpling didn’t appear to expend much effort — he swung lazily, the way you might bat a fly. But it was enough to send his opponent, Kamil Marusarz, a 26-year-old from Orland Park, Ill., toppling to the ground.

Referees and the medical staff onstage at the Cobalt Ballroom at the Fontainebleau Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas late last month rushed to check on Mr. Marusarz. Any hesitation in the cheering and applause from the 3,500-person crowd was alleviated when someone with a clear view of the ring yelled out that Mr. Marusarz was still breathing. The atmosphere had the boozy jocularity of a bachelor party.

Dumpling raised a fist, grinning in triumph as the announcer declared him the victor. Mr. Marusarz remained unmoving on the floor. The whole fight, if you can call it as much, lasted about 30 seconds. Most fans agreed that it was the highlight of the evening’s eight-bouts event, in which one pair of competitors after another stood their ground and exchanged earsplitting slaps.

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