Power Slap 4: Understanding the Power Slap League



Power Slap 4: Understanding the Power Slap League

Power Slap, the fight promotion owned and operated by UFC president Dana White, makes its return tomorrow on Wednesday, August 9th. Live from Las Vegas, Nevada, Power Slap 4 will be showcased live on the Rumble social media platform. Here though, we are going to take you on a deep dive of the Power Slap League in order to understand it, its rules, as well as how everything works. Read on below to find out more about the Power Slap League.

Power Slap: What on Earth Is It?

For those of you that have been around the internet for a while (myself included), you've probably seen those viral videos of big, burly Russian men slapping the living daylights out of each other in front of raucous, baying crowds egging said big, burly Russians on to knock each other into next week.

Essentially, the Power Slap League is the regulated, legalised version of this. Dana White saw the popularity of these videos and the “sport” at large, and decided to capitalise on the popularity by creating his own slap fighting championship; hence, “Power Slap”. Having been founded in 2022, the Power Slap League has spawned a reality TV production called “Road to the Title”, as well as 3 official events to date.

Russian Slapping Championship: Weightlifter wins competition after nearly  knocking rival out with one might slap to the face | London Evening  Standard | Evening Standard

The Power Slap League, the personal brainchild of UFC President Dana White, directly owes its origins to organisations such as the Russian Slapping Championship, whose highlights have gone viral on the internet in the last few years. (Image Credit: Evening Standard)

The Power Slap League has produced some stand out performers, including former light heavyweight champion Ayjay “Static” Hintz (who actually main events Power Slap 4 tomorrow), as well as Duane “The Iron Giant” Crespo, a retired former US Marine who claims that MMA saved his life. There are certainly many eclectic personalities who have gained wider traction as a result of their association with the Power Slap League.

What Are The Rules?

The rules are relatively simple.

The Power Slap League is regulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. A coin toss is conducted to see who gets to throw the first slap (probably a coin toss you want to win). The person throwing first has 60 seconds to deliver a an open-handed slap, and the slap has to be below the eye but above the chin (essentially the cheek area).

The fighter getting slapped has 60 seconds to recover from said slap and get back into position before getting ready to slap their opponent. Should a fight (somehow) go the distance without someone getting flattened, the winner is determined using a 10-points must system, with the fight being judged on effectiveness of strikes, the reaction to the strikes as well as the time taken to recover and get back into position. Additionally, the fighter getting slapped is not allowed to flinch, tuck their chin or move in any way – they have to absorb the slap full and head-on.

Criticism of the Power Slap League

In probably the least shocking statement you will read, the Power Slap League has been met with a LOT (and I do mean a lot) of varied and far-ranging criticism.

The most common criticism of the Power Slap League revolves around the inability of fighters to defend themselves. As outlined above, the fighter getting slapped must take the slap with their hands behind their back and without flinching or chin tucking. This has led to the Power Slap League being absolutely lambasted by both fans and experts alike, with many emphasising the dangers of long term brain damage and health effects. Christopher Nowinski, a former professional wrestler and now Neuroscientist, observed one Power Slap fighter displaying the fencing response after receiving a slap, a response indicating serious brain trauma/injury.

The FRONTLINE Interview: Chris Nowinski | League of Denial: The NFL's  Concussion Crisis | FRONTLINE | PBS

Medical experts have been extremely vocal in their criticisms of the Power Slap League, with Chris Nowinski PhD being a very well-known and vocal critic of the League. (Image Credit: PBS)

Emphatic criticism has also come from very prominent individuals. UFC bantamweight “Suga” Sean O'Malley has made clear his refusal to watch the Power Slap League, citing its direct correlation to the increased likelihood of severe brain trauma. In February 2023, Dr Bennet Omalu, one of the world's leading experts on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (better known as CTE) said:

“It is a very dumb [sport], very stupid and unsafe. It is primitive. To me, such a sport is inconsistent with the intelligence of humans. It is possible that a participant could die from this. Somebody could die or suffer catastrophic brain damage and become a vegetable. How can he [Dana White] make that statement? It is like saying you will make a loaded gun safe […] Why is TBS showing such a primitive sport? It should not be on TV.”

TBS, the US broadcaster, dropped Power Slap from its airing schedule due to its low viewing figures, as well as the fallout of the controversy following Dana White's wife slapping scandal. It is very clear that the sustained criticism and condemnation of the Power Slap League has had a severe effect on its mainstream popularity, but Dana White continues to remain defiant and bullish about its long term growth opportunities.

Doctor behind 'Concussion' tackled racism and NFL - Los Angeles Times

Dr Bennet Omalu, one of the world's foremost experts on CTE, has been an outspoken critic of Dana White for allowing the Power Slap League to continue. (Image Credit: Los Angeles Times)

So there you have it. Hopefully this article has given you a better insight in the Power Slap League as a whole, as well as how it actually works and the controversy surrounding it. If you are interested in checking it out for yourself, Power Slap 4 airs for free on the Rumble streaming platform. The event starts at 9pm EST/6pm PST.

Thanks for reading!


[Scratches record] Yeah, that's me. You're probably wondering how I ended up here...or not. My name's Keelin McNamara, and I am an AVID combat sports fan. Always have been, and probably always will be. I started writing and podcasting about MMA in the Summer of 2020 (yeah, we don't talk about that here either). I've been doing it ever since, and have loved every single minute of it! Thanks for checking out whatever it is you're reading - I hope you enjoy it!

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