HomeUFCThe Surprising World of Professional Pillow Fighting

The Surprising World of Professional Pillow Fighting

Discover the surprising world of professional pillow fighting and the intense competition behind it. Learn about the recent Pillow Fight Championship and the rise of champions like Parker Appel.

Professional pillow fighting is more serious than some people realize – surprising even the fighters themselves. On August 4, ESPN’s The Ocho aired the PFC: Pillow Fight Championship from Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Parker Appel, 23, was named Pillow Fight Champion earlier this year. He was first drawn to the sport for the prize money. Appel is making his MMA debut in September. The recent win marked his third Pillow Fight Championship win.

The event featured fights between current and former UFC fighters like Leandro Silva, aka Apollo and Markus Perez as well as MMA world champions like Julia Dorny, also known as the German Tank. Competitors also included several amateur fighters like Parker Appel, who ultimately took home the title of the men’s US Pillow Fight Champion.

This month’s event marked the third time Appel, 23, has competed in a Pillow Fight Championship – as well as his third win. The Long Island native exclusively told The US Sun that he was first drawn to the unusual competition due to the $5,000 prize money but was wary of the style of the event. The first time he competed, Appel admitted he felt goofy participating.

“I was like, whatever, I’ll just do it,” he said. “But when I got in there, I was like ‘Holy s**t, like this cardio is like crazy.’ You get really tired.” Appel, who now trains in Delray, Florida, said something in his brain activates when he is in the ring – pointing to a fight or flight mode.

“No one wants to lose a fight,” he said. “So it ends up being very competitive.”

Similar to mixed martial arts fights, the pillow fight championship is fought on a point system. Opponents are only permitted to strike their opponent with their approved pillow. They are not allowed to strike with any part of their body, push or charge their opponent, or strike with two-hands overhead. They can gain points by making different kinds of strikes, such as a 360 degree strike to the head or a knockdown.

Appel found that while in the ring, the match had a similar atmosphere to that of other fights – just with less damage. One of his fellow competitors even approached him before a match to reveal they were suffering from pre-fight jitters.

“Most fighters I know get pre-fight jitters,” Appel said. “They’re like, ‘man I feel like I’m gonna go fight.’”

Even the energy of the crowd felt as rowdy as other fights Appel has competed in, he said. The competition went viral on social media earlier this month, with many viewers expressing confusion or disbelief with the sport.

“Everyone’s like what is this?” Appel said of the confusion, calling the unusual fight ‘a thing.’ “What I would say is basically, can’t hate on it until you try it.”

Appel is planning to make his MMA debut on September 16. He first started fighting approximately two years ago, telling The US Sun it was to give him discipline and stay out of trouble.

“That’s basically what I did, and it gave me a healthy lifestyle,” Appel said. As he hopes to go pro within the next couple of years, the 23-year-old has no plans to stop pillow fighting any time soon.

“It was a really fun experience,” Appel said, adding that he “definitely” will enter the ring again.