The rise of Power Slap

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Power Slap
Power Slap
American slap fighting promotion company
Founded
2022
Founder and Owner
Dana White
Reality TV Show
Power Slap: Road to the Title
Power Slap is a new slap fighting league founded in 2022 by UFC president Dana White. It aims to bring the controversial sport of competitive slap fighting into the mainstream. Here is an overview of Power Slap's rapid rise:

Origins and Format

  • Slap fighting originated in Eastern Europe and gained popularity through viral videos in the late 2010s.
  • In Power Slap matches, two competitors take turns delivering open-handed slaps to each other's faces. Most bouts are 3-5 rounds. The fighter can't flinch or defend themselves when being slapped.
  • Fights are scored on a 10-point must system like boxing/MMA, with judging based on the effectiveness of the slap and the defender's reaction and recovery time.

Backing from Dana White and the UFC

  • UFC president Dana White founded Power Slap after seeing the popularity of slap fighting videos online. He believed a professional league with rules and high production values could convert viewers into fans.
  • The UFC's parent company is involved in a lawsuit alleging they take an inordinate share of profits from Power Slap.
  • Power Slap has been integrated into UFC event programming to cross-promote the league using the popularity of UFC fighters.

Television Deal and Viral Popularity

  • In 2023, Power Slap debuted the reality show Power Slap: Road to the Title on TBS. However, the premiere was delayed after White was filmed slapping his wife.
  • The show had significantly lower ratings than its lead-in programming, drawing around 250k viewers compared to 1 million for AEW wrestling. TBS declined to renew it for a second season.
  • However, Power Slap has found viral popularity on social media. White claims some videos have over 100 million views on TikTok. Power Slap content generates over 10 million Instagram views per post on average.

Safety Concerns and Controversies

  • Doctors and brain injury experts have warned that slap fighting is extremely dangerous and can cause lasting neurological damage, equating it to "glorified brain injury".
  • White has defended the safety of the sport, arguing there are doctors and ambulances on site, and that it's safer than boxing or MMA since fighters take fewer blows per bout. However, critics argue the force of undefended slaps is highly damaging.
  • The Nevada State Athletic Commission faced criticism for sanctioning Power Slap with minimal regulation. The rules were later amended to better define legal slaps and minimize injury.

Fighter Pay Controversy

  • Power Slap has also faced backlash over low fighter pay. Reportedly, contestants make around $2,000 to show and $2,000 to win, far lower than entry-level UFC fighters.
  • White has defended the pay structure as comparable to boxing undercards and early UFC, but the controversy persists.
In summary, Power Slap has leveraged the UFC's brand and the viral appeal of slap fighting to rapidly gain attention. However, its quick rise has been accompanied by strong criticism from medical professionals over the sport's safety, as well as backlash regarding fighter pay. As Power Slap continues to grow, it remains to be seen if it can overcome these controversies to establish itself long-term.
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