UFC’s Dana White Introducing New Fighting League That Has Doctors Concerned

Americans who love combat sports will have a new option next year — in a venture that already is drawing concerns.

On Friday, Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White unveiled his new venture called Power Slap, in which competitors will slap each other in the face until one comes out the winner. The contests, which involved open-handed slaps and no gloves, will be coming to television in 2023.

“The sport of slap fighting is about to go to a whole new level,” White said, according to CNN.

“The production level will be through the roof … everything about this thing is going to the next level,” he said.

White said the venture has been brewing for years.

“This all started for me back in 2017,” White said, according to The Washington Post.

“I started seeing some of these slap videos on social media … and I was blown away by the numbers. Some of these have like 300 million views, so I started thinking. Obviously, this thing really works for social media, but I thought it would be good for television if done the right way,” he said.

Dr. Nitin Agarwal, a neurosurgeon at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who researches traumatic brain injuries, said safety in slap fighting is a myth.

“When it comes to the physical aspect of the martial arts, safety and defense are primary. By its virtue, slap boxing is an offensive sport. There is no defense,” he said.

“You can’t use your shoulder to protect you. You can’t use your hands to protect. You can’t even turn your head to soften the blow or control where the blow is going to be placed. So that’s very worrisome,” he said.

“You see these people pass out from one blow. In reality, what that is, is they just suffered a concussion. They suffered a traumatic brain injury,” he said.

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“Anybody who presents to the emergency room after a blow like that is being worked up with the full trauma work-up, including a trauma pan scan, which includes a full body CT scan and a scan of their head. I would not be surprised if there’s both visible and occult brain injury. … So, I’m very worried for these participants,” he said.

White said slap fighters know how to deal with being hit.

“These guys that have been doing it for a while, there actually is technique to it. You can actually roll with the slap, they know how to defend, brace, whatever you want to call it. There’s actually technique to this thing, believe it or not,” he said.

Power Slap will be overseen by the Nevada State Athletic Commission

“After testing it, it became clear to us that there’s massive potential here as a sport, not unlike the early years of the UFC,” UFC chief business officer Hunter Campbell said, according to ESPN. “It made all the sense in the world to go toward regulation before the sport’s commencing, for all the obvious reasons — No. 1, the health and safety of the competitors.”

“Everything will be structured and designed to provide a level of integrity to the sport and provide a system that’s safe moving forward,” Campbell said.

According to the Power Slap website, each competitor has 30 seconds to slap the opponent, who has 30 seconds to recover. Contests must go for at least three rounds, with each round’s winner getting 10 points and the opponent nine or fewer.

Victory comes through points, a knockout or a TKO.

“Striker fouls include clubbing, stepping, illegal wind-up and delay of game. Defender fouls include flinching, blocking and delay of game,” Power Slap’s website said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.