Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson Explains the Surprising Effectiveness of the ‘Stockton Slap’

Professional fighter Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson may be widely considered to be one of the best strikers in UFC history, but in a pinch, he believes a good slap can do the job of a punch. In a recent video on his YouTube channel, Thompson sings the praises of the “Stockton slap,” a move favored by MMA fighters such as Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, and Nick and Nate Diaz. “It’s a really effective technique,” he says, “and if you do it correctly, you’ll put somebody to sleep with it.”

According to Thompson, the Stockton slap works for two reasons.

Firstly, it hurts. A lot. “It’s not like a hurt that just goes away,” says Thompson. “It stays with you for a long time… You can use the fingertips, or you can use the palm of the hand. I’ve seen people slapped in the jaw and get knocked out. You can also, using the palm of the hand, slap the temple area. Even the ear can discombobulate you and make that ear ring forever.”

(This is a rationale shared by former Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries, who suggests that a slap delivered with maximum power can be just as effective as a punch, and hurt your opponent more.)

The second reason the Stockton slap is such a popular move, is that it is a surefire way to throw off and embarrass your opponent. “When you’ve got thousands of people in the stands, millions around the world watching you get slapped by another man, it’s embarrassing,” he says. “It’s like a ninja to your brain, you’re out there getting slapped by this dude. Not even getting punched or kicked. And that will stay with you probably forever.”

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