Former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia is coming out of retirement to compete for a slap fighting promotion called the Power Slap League and it’s led to some of his peers voicing concerns about whether that’s a good decision for the 47-year-old due to prior health concerns.
Among those speaking out is a former opponent of Sylvia’s, Ben Rothwell who pointed out that Sylvia’s retirement from MMA back in 2015 came about after the Mohegan Athletic Unit denied him a license to fight due to concerns regarding an MRI scan, with Sylvia saying at the time that, “They said I’ve received enough damage over 16 years.”
However, Sylvia has waved off Rothwell’s concerns and said he’s been cleared to compete in the controversial sport, which sees two opponents take turns to slap each other in the face until one can’t continue.
“Taking out of context, the mri wasn’t clear and couldn’t be read, so i had to take another one,” Sylvia told Rothwell on Twitter. “What they did see was what they thought was trauma from 16 years in a contact sport. Mine looks just like any other fighter competing that long.
“The new mri i took was clear with no problems. But my knees don’t allow me to run and do cardio any longer so i could no longer make the weight.”
“Well very sorry to hear about the knees, glad your heads ok,” Rothwell replied, though it doesn’t sound like he’s convinced. “Typically those type of things don’t just go away. Hope you win the coin toss 😬.”
“Ben thx for your concern,” Sylvia resonded. “Like i said there is nothing wrong with my brain. I am willing to bet our mri would look the same. As you know Mohegan Sun is the [worst] athletic commission on the planet.”
Another former UFC fighter who appeared to be scratching his head at Sylvia’s new career choice was Demarques Johnson.
“So if the medicals are the same, why not fight and make more money than slapping?” Johnson asked.
“Cause i can’t get in that kind of shape anymore,” Sylvia said. “My knees are shot. The training would be to rough on my body. I am just lifting heavy and doing 20 min of cardio for this.”
It certainly sounds like a bad idea for Sylvia to get involved in a high-risk, low-reward, and frankly just downright foolish “sport” like this, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem as if he’s going to be talked out of it.