Video game manufacturer EA Sports has immortalized the “Stockton Slap” in its latest release, UFC 2.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Delta College student Andy Larson. “It’s unique to Stockton and now everyone will know about it.”
The move, made famous by Stockton brothers Nate and Nick Diaz, is essentially a hard slap to the head, but with more style.
It’s typically preceded by taunting, then punctuated with a shout of “Stockton!” or “209!” (and often some sort of profanity).
EA Sports said in a press release that it included the “Stockton Slap” as a “tip of the hat” to the Diaz brothers, which makes sense after Nate Diaz’s unlikely victory over Conor McGregor in March.
In that match, Diaz utilized the move to set up the barrage that led to McGregor’s demise.
That a billion-dollar company would bring the term “Stockton Slap” into the mainstream might worry those concerned about the struggle the city has had to restore its image.
Most Stocktonians are no doubt tired of hearing about how “miserable” their town is and some are wondering what effect popularizing the “Stockton Slap” might have on its image.
“I think some people might get the wrong idea and think bad or worse about Stockton,” said Larson. “But it does make you a little proud if you’re from here.”
Most people are probably unaware that, according to Marvel Comics, the Fantastic Four hail from Stockton.
Those who are old enough to remember the buzz caused by Stan Lee’s revelation in 1986 remember a time when Stockton garnered positive attention as the birthplace of superheroes.
Of course, as times change so do the heroes. The 1980’s saw a pop culture phenomenon named Hulk Hogan, a pro wrestler who told youngsters to, “Train, say your prayers, and take your vitamins.”
Ten years later the pop culture phenomenon was another pro wrestler— “Stone Cold” Steve Austin—who cursed, drank beer in the ring, and held up his middle finger for all to see.
Stockton’s biggest concerns about its image in the mid 1980s had to do with a mayor who allegedly falsified travel vouchers and a city councilmember accused of voter fraud.
Lee’s “heroes with hangups” seemed a perfect fit for Stockton at a time when the town longed for a reason to feel better about itself.
A similar argument could be made for EA Sports’ efforts to cement “Stockton Slap” into the mainstream lexicon.
The anti-hero antics of an Austin (or Diaz, in this case) might represent the attitude Stockton needs as it fights for its survival amidst the current climate.
But the question of whether today’s pop culture driven world will see it as a symbol for determination or mere defiance remains to be seen.
“I don’t think that a move in a video game is really going to change the way people think about Stockton overall,” said Larson. “But I think it’s going to make the game more fun. I can’t wait to play it.”