Ever since the news broke late last year that UFC president Dana White would promote slap fighting, it’s been expected that UFC fighters – past or present – eventually could appear in hopes of appealing to the established MMA fanbase.
Now the first one is on record.
Monday, veteran light heavyweight Eric Spicely revealed on Twitter (h/t Luke Thomas) that he was offered to partake in the UFC-backed Power Slap League. He said he was “shocked” to find out the pay was $2,000 to show and $2,000 to win for the first fight.
Spicely didn’t explain further on Twitter, but Thomas subsequently reported that Spicely showed him “some evidence for his claims.”
In follow-up text messages with MMA Junkie’s Nolan King, Spicely, who appeared on “The Ultimate Fighter 23” in 2016, said he was approached by “TUF” producers – not UFC or Power Slap matchmakers – about competing in Power Slap. Producers who worked on “TUF” also are behind the eight-episode “Power Slap: Road to the Title” reality series that premiered last Wednesday on TBS.
Spicely told MMA Junkie that he hopped on a call with producers he’d worked with, heard the pay and said he wasn’t interested.
Salaries for Power Slap competitors are disclosed to the Nevada Athletic Commission, which voted last November to regulate slap fighting ahead of Power Slap’s debut. Those salaries, like the UFC’s, are not public information.
Spicely, 36, had two separate stints in the UFC. After filming “TUF 23,” he went 2-4 with the promotion 2016 to 2018. He then picked up back-to-back wins in CES before he returned to the UFC in June 2019 and lost a unanimous decision to Deron Winn.
Spicely (12-8) was scheduled to fight Aug. 1, 2020 at UFC Fight Night 173 but withdrew on weigh-in day. He later said he was on “anitdepressants due to head trauma,” which caused his weight cut to go “horribly wrong.”
Given Spicely’s admission then, most observers likely would consider him turning down Power Slap a wise move. Health experts and a leading neuroscientist have criticized White and the UFC for trying to legitimize slap fighting, citing its senseless danger since competitors are not allowed to intelligently defend themselves as they are in traditional combat sports.
Spicely hasn’t competed in MMA since September 2021 at OKTAGON 28, where he was knocked out in the first round. The loss was his fourth in a row.