Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a slap while fighting a platform

Arnold Schwarzenegger gives fringe sports a platform at the Arnold Sports Festival March 5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

Before he was “The Terminator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger was the bodybuilding superstar, and now he’s bringing slap fighting to the fore at the Arnold Sports Festival on Saturday, March 5.

Schwarzenegger, once known as the “Austrian Oak”, made waves in the 1970s with his massive yet sculpted physique. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Austrian brought bodybuilding to the masses with his sensational body optics and magnetic charisma.

Schwarzenegger has won seven Mr. Olympia bodybuilding titles, which is the Super Bowl of sports. He won his first title in 1970 when the sport was in its infancy. Bodybuilding was derided as an oddity, but Schwarzenegger’s personality resonated with audiences. He popularized the sport and brought it into the mainstream.

Schwarzenegger never took mean-spirited comments targeting bodybuilding personally. Instead, he used it as motivation to expand the bodybuilding spectrum.

“I didn’t disdain it at all because I understood it when I came to America,” Schwarzenegger told FanSided during a recent media call. “The reason the sport was so misunderstood or there were so many misconceptions about the sport was because nobody really communicated well with the masses and the press.

Schwarzenegger has taken it upon himself to become the ambassador of bodybuilding to the world.

“I felt like it was an empty bucket, and whoever fills that bucket, that’s what was going to play out there,” Schwarzenegger said. “So I felt very strongly at that point that I had to start taking ownership of this and start hiring a publicist and start systematically moving forward and start explaining the sport of bodybuilding to the press.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger has secured the services of Logan Paul to host the Slap Fighting Championship at the Arnold Sports Festival on March 5

Schwarzenegger’s strategy worked and resulted in the 1977 documentary pump ironwhich has become a cult classic.

Schwarzenegger catapulted his stardom into a prolific acting career that made him arguably the biggest action star of the 20th century.

Despite all the fame, Schwarzenegger never stopped giving back to the sport that made him a top celebrity. Schwarzenegger created the Arnold Classic bodybuilding contest in 1989. It evolved into the Arnold Sports Festival which celebrates a host of non-traditional athletic competitions.

“This year we will have approximately 18,000 participating athletes from over 60 nations, with over 100,000 participating throughout the weekend,” Schwarzenegger said. “It’s a great event, and I want to thank everyone who made it possible again.

“We don’t do anything on our own. There is no self-made man. We had huge success with The Arnold Classic. It’s the biggest festival of its kind in the world, and it’s not just because of me. There are thousands of people working throughout the year putting this together. Everyone brings something to the table.

One of the sports in the spotlight this year is the slap fight. Basically, two contestants stand at opposite ends of a small table and take turns slapping each other. The Slap Fighting Championship takes place at the Arnold Sports Festival on Saturday, March 5 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, OH.

Schwarzenegger brought in famed YouTuber, rookie boxer, and Ohio native Logan Paul to host the Slap Fighting Championship.

“It was great to hear that Logan was inspired by the Arnold Classic as a kid,” Schwarzenegger said. “Because I was inspired watching Logan step into the ring and fight. We got inspiration from each other, so it’s natural for us to work together. I’m very interested to see how it works out with the slap fights, and hopefully we can go around the world. We don’t know where this will take us, but I’m really looking forward to this event.

It looks like the Arnold Sports Festival could become an international sporting phenomenon if all goes well with the slap fights. Maybe Schwarzenegger and Paul can make slapping wrestling the next fringe sport to emerge into the limelight.

The Slap Fighting Championship airs at 2 p.m. ET on the Fanmio app or Paul’s YouTube page. You can see all the action from the Arnold Sports Festival for an early bird price of $24.99 if purchased by or on March 4 or $34.99 from March 5.

Teresa E. Burton