Some sports are so wild, you have to see them to believe them.
And unless you’ve spent a good bit of time in Siberia, that’s probably the case for the “Slapping Championships.”
The sport, which is fairly new, debuted at last year’s Siberian Power Show, where videos of the event quickly went viral. A few months later, professional slapping got even more attention after its 300-pound champion, Vasiliy Khamotiskiy, was knocked out cold during his first-ever loss.
So how does the game work, exactly? First, two opponents line up facing one another, according to the Moscow Times.
Then, they start slapping. Each competitor takes turns hitting each other in the face until one either gives up or is disqualified — or in some cases, passes out.
It’s a challenge involving plenty of pain, but also some gain. Khamotiskiy, the champion who was knocked out in December 2019, took home 30,000 rubles (about $475) when he won the Male Slapping Championship earlier that year.
Khamotiskiy, who is a farmer in his day-to-day life, earned plenty of fame following his victory too. He told the Guardian that he started getting recognized in the streets and was getting interview requests from countries as far away as Spain and Japan.
“Everybody on YouTube writes, ‘They’re such idiots’ and, ‘Why do this?’” Khamotiskiy said of his viral fame. “But people are watching it and that means they must need it. They write negatively about it but they keep watching it.”
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