Tim Sylvia is ready to try his hand, literally, at slap fighting.
The former two-time UFC heavyweight champion will be part of a SlapFIGHT Championship event on April 22 in Oklahoma City. The ‘Main-iac’ is the first former UFC champion to jump into the controversial world of slap fighting. It will also be the first time in nearly a decade that Sylvia has competed in combat sports, though slap fighting’s status as a legitimate combat sport is still being heavily debated among fight fans.
SlapFIGHT CEO JT Tilley shared his excitement over the signing of Sylvia in a statement, revealing that ‘The Maine-iac’ had signed a multi-fight deal with the promotion which will begin at SlapFIGHT 25 against 1-0 heavyweight competitor Bulldozer.
“We are extremely excited for the debut of Tim Sylvia at SlapFIGHT,” Tilley said. “Tim has joined us as a guest cornerman during our past two underground events and the excitement of the sport has captured his focus.”
The Main Event for SlapFIGHT 25 has been announced. Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia will compete vs ‘Bulldozer’ in a Super Heavyweight Clash!#SlapFIGHT #SlapFighting #SlapFightChampionship #SlapCompetition #SlapContest #Slap #SlapKnockout #SlapTournament #Slapping pic.twitter.com/SLbFtogqsH
— SlapFIGHT Championship 🇺🇸🇬🇧🇳🇬🇮🇳 (@SlapFIGHTUSA) March 30, 2023
The History of Tim Sylvia
Sylvia, 47, captured the UFC heavyweight title following a first-round knockout of Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 41 in 2003. Less than three months later he made his first successful title defense against Gan McGee. Following the contest, it was revealed that Sylvia had tested positive for the banned substance Stanozolol. He openly admitted to taking the substance to shed excess weight. As a result, he was slapped with a six-month suspension and vacated the heavyweight title in the process.
Tim Sylvia is most remembered for his iconic trilogy with another heavyweight legend, Andrei Arlovski. ‘The Pitbull’ only needed 47-seconds to submit Sylvia in their first meeting at UFC 51, but ‘The Maine-iac’ would bounce back, defeating Arlovski in back-to-back bouts, recapturing the UFC heavyweight title in the process. Sylvia would go on to lose the title in 2007 to Randy Couture before exiting the promotion a year later. He competed against Arlovski one last time under the ONE Championship banner in 2012. The bout was rendered a no-contest following an illegal kick to the head of a downed opponent.
Sylvia’s last fight was in 2013, but ‘The Maine-iac’ officially retired from the sport in 2015 citing that he had “received enough damage over 16 years.”