Dana White is starting his own power-slapping competition titled 'Power Slap League'. The sport, which first rose to prominence in Russia and Eastern Europe, quickly went viral and has reached audiences in the United States.
The UFC president made the announcement on his Instagram profile and called on entries for his new promotion.
According to MMA Junkie, Shiaffo LLC — managed by Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta, as well as UFC chief operating officer Lawrence Epstein and TUF producer Craig Piligian — presented the idea to the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC). The NAC reviewed the petition, analyzing whether the 'sport' fell under the purview of 'unarmed combat'.
On Tuesday, the petition was approved by the NAC to be regulated as a sport within the state. It is unclear as to what the details of the promotion will be, with the exception of Dana White touting it as being "the biggest slap competition of all time."
The MMA community had some choice reactions to the announcement. Many dismissed the idea itself and criticized the NAC for providing approval. Some reactions dismissed the concept as "unintelligent," "a freak show" and "a money grab."
Slap fighting gained prominence after videos of the events in Russia went viral in recent years, particularly during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The sport eventually made its way to Eastern Europe before finally reaching US shores.
The rules are relatively simple: two competitors slap each other until one of them gets knocked out or concedes. Vasily 'The Dumpling' Kamotsky is most famously considered the 'Muhammad Ali of Slap Fighting'.
Here is a highlight reel of Vasily 'The Dumpling' Kamotsky:
Is Dana White the first to bring slap-fighting to America?
Dana White isn't the first person to bring slap-fighting to the US.
This past March, Logan Paul and Arnold Schwarzenegger collaborated with Punchdown to start their very own promotion, known as the Slap Fighting Championship. The event was held as part of Schwarzenegger's Arnold's Sports Festival.
The event featured prominent slap-fighting competitors who gained prominence on YouTube and other social media platforms.
Here is FIGHTMAG's highlight video from the Slap Fighting Championships 2022:
As of now, slap-fighting is merely seen as a form of entertainment (albeit a brutal one), rather than a legitimate sport. Dana White, though, has seemingly seen marketable appeal in slap-fighting.
Criticism of the venture, however, lies with the fact that the sport primarily involves strikes to the head without the recipient being permitted to defend themselves. With that, there is real concern about long-term head trauma.
People may argue that other striking arts like boxing and kickboxing also involve head trauma, but those contact sports involve hitting and not getting hit. The crux of slap-fighting involves taking a hit to the face without flinching or moving.
Will slap-fighting be recognized as a legitimate sport in the years to come? We'll just have to wait and see.