Ex-UFC star looks unrecognisable with bushy beard as he KOs rival with monster blow in savage Slap Fighting Championship | The Sun
25th April 2023

UFC hero Tim Sylvia looks unrecognisable as he has crossed over to the controversial world of slap fighting.

Sylvia has swapped his short hair, trimmed facial hair and toned physique for a more rugged look after leaving Dana White's promotion.

The Maine-iac now competes for Slap Fighting Championship with a shaven head, bushy beard and heavier frame.

The 47-year-old enjoyed a successful MMA career with a record of 31 wins and 10 losses out of a total of 42 fights.

It saw him have two UFC Heavyweight Championship reigns – the first of which was at UFC 41 in 2003.

20 years later, the American bruiser continues to knock people out, but now it only takes a single slap.

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Sylvia shared footage on Twitter of his most recent match against The Bouncer whom he floored in the fifth round to win the bout in Oklahoma.

The heavyweight, who became the first MMA fighter to join slap fighting, participates in the brutal sport despite previously showing signs of blunt force trauma.

The Maine native's manager Monte Cox confirmed the Mohegan Athletic Unit made the diagnosis via MRI scan in 2015

Cox said: "Basically what they're saying is there's damage from blunt force trauma.

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"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."

Sylvia's former UFC rival Ben Rothwell previously questioned his decision to compete in the Slap Fight Championship, citing his MRI scan.

But the slap fighting star poured cold water on Rothwell's fears by insisting his scans are clear.

Sylvia responded: "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.

"Ben thx for your concern. Like I said there is nothing wrong with my brain. I am willing to bet our MRI would look the same.

"Taking out of context, the MRI wasn’t clear and couldn’t be read, so I had to take another one.

"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."

Neuroscientists have criticised the brutal slap fighting sport due to the risk of brain injury.

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