Tim Sylvia, former UFC heavyweight champion, has transitioned into the world of slap fighting, showcasing impressive natural abilities.
Recently, he made headlines as the main attraction in the latest Slap Fight Championship event, having secured a multi-fight contract with a competitor to Dana White's heavily criticized Power Slap league.
On social media, 'The Maine-iac' Tim Sylvia posted footage of his debut in slap fighting, which showcased him dropping his opponent on two separate occasions. One slap proved to be too much for 'Bouncer', as he fell to the ground and appeared to be knocked out, but he managed to get back up and continue fighting.
After a few rounds of back-and-forth slapping, 47-year-old Sylvia scored another knockdown, leading to the fight being called off and him being crowned the heavyweight champion. Despite this victory, the win represents a significant downfall for the MMA legend, who was once considered the best heavyweight fighter on the planet.
At his peak, Sylvia defeated notable fighters such as Andre Arlovski, Jeff Monson, Ben Rothwell, and Brandon Vera, and even won the UFC heavyweight belt twice during his 42-fight MMA career. Sylvia also shared the cage with legends such as Frank Mir, Fedor Emelianenko, Minotauro Nogueira, Randy Couture, and boxer Ray Mercer before retiring from fighting in 2013.
The 47-year-old is a two-time UFC heavyweight champion.
Standing at 6ft 8in, Tim Sylvia was a knockout artist who attempted a comeback in 2015. Unfortunately, he was not cleared by the Mohegan Athletic Unit, leading to the cancellation of his scheduled fight with Juliano Coutinho.
At the time, Sylvia weighed 371lbs, and his manager Monte Cox reported that a pre-fight MRI scan revealed concerning indications of blunt force trauma.
“Basically what they’re saying is there’s damage from blunt force trauma,” Cox said in an interview with ESPN eight years ago.
“He’s got damage there. Does it affect his everyday life? Not so far. Not that he can tell — but it’s certainly something to pay attention to.”
“I think it’s the end. He had gotten to a point where his body, through all the wars, just wasn’t able to get in the kind of shape he used to.
“Obviously, you could see that in his weight. He just can’t get into competitive form. I think [retirement] is good. With this MRI, why go on, when you’re only getting paid a fraction of what you’re worth?”
Unfortunately, Sylvia took several clean shots during his Slap Fighting Championship debut and is likely to take more when he competes in the controversial sport again.
A first defence of his newly acquired title is expected to take place later this year against a yet-to-be-named opponent, but he has distanced himself from facing UFC legend Mark Coleman.