Last year a new strange Russian sporting phenomenon was born when Vasily Khamotskiy, nicknamed ‘The Dumpling’ for his animalistic appetite and stocky frame, won the inaugural Russian Slapping Championships at the Siberian Power Show in March 2019.
Twelve months on and the farmer from Siberia is featuring in the latest unforgiving installment of ‘Stone Faces’ for a 105,000 rubles ($1,425/£1,100) prize total from the depths of a prison cell.
None of the current covid-19 quarantine measures were harmed in the filming of the clip, as the contest took place last month but was published Thursday.
Dumpling’s opponent came in the immensely imposing 6ft 7in figure of Wágner da Conceição Martins, better known as Zuluzinho, and a quick glance at the Brazilian behemoth’s credentials shows he has the transferable skills to be a worthy slap contest rival.
A jiu jitsu specialist with a professional mixed martial arts record of 14-9, a handful of Zuluzinho’s fights have come in the PRIDE and K-1 promotions, and has also fought in Russia’f Fight Nights Global promotion.
His impressive record of opponents include MMA legends Antonio Noguera and Fedor Emilianenko, as well as boxing novelty Butterbean, all which however ended in losses.
In the prison, at an unknown location, Dumpling won the toss and elected to hit first, but his usually seismic strike didn’t manage to move the Brazilian beast and only left a white chalk palmprint across his cheek.
Zuluzinho simply flashed his metal grill to the referee and afforded a wry smile, and then returned the favor by delivering his first slap. On replay, the blow appeared to illegally catch the Russian’s ear on the follow-through.
Incidentally, the Russian caught his opponent on both the eye and ear on his next attempt and both men were left to rely on the aid of smelling salts for recovery.
Dumpling was the first to do any major damage on the third attempt when the doctor was called to check on Zuluzinho’s eyes, but gave the OK for him to continue.
The Brazilian was buoyed by Dumpling’s fifth and final slap that slipped off his cheek and did no clear damage, executing a celebratory jig and screaming ‘Brasilia’.
And victory seemed certain for the Maranhao state native with a damaging right sure to have signaled victory, but a limp final slap meant the contest was scored even.
Subsequently the prize money was shared and Dumpling’s reputation, now on the international stage, stayed intact, as well as his bearded mug but for a few welts and bruises.
Dumpling rose to prominence when UFC color commentator Joe Rogan retweeted footage of him knocking out an opponent stone cold on his way to winning his inaugural title, a competition he entered “for a bet” with his friends.
That lead to UFC head honcho Dana White to ponder whether it was worth the tournament being broadcast on UFC Fight Pass and a host of media offers which have turned him into an unlikely local hero.