Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) raised a lot of eyebrows last month when it agreed to license and regulate Dana White’s new Power Slap League. Commissions are in place to protect the safety of combat sports athletes, and letting people get hit really hard in the head with defense allowed sounded a bit iffy.
But, Nevada went ahead and gave the face slap extravaganza the green light.
Are we detecting a twinge of regret at a more recent commission meeting? As members approved the ruleset and judging criteria, NSAC Chairman, Stephen Cloobeck, made some pretty blunt demands of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) CBO, Hunter Campbell.
“You will make sure no one dies?” he asked (via MMA Fighting).
“That is priority 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10,” Campbell said. “That goes without saying. Honestly, one of the reasons we tested this was to really understand firsthand in person the health and safety aspect of the sport. We have a high level of comfort following that, working extensively with the commission, to make sure that we believe that safely.”
“You will make sure that no one has severe brain injuries going forward?” Cloobeck added.
“That’s correct,” Campbell replied. “That’s the other reason working with you and executive director Mullen, chairman. We put the health and safety requirements in place that are above and beyond basically what any other commission in the country would require.”
Dana White’s Power Slap League has been dogged by some negativity from mixed martial arts (MMA) fans. Some just think it’s cheesy and silly. Others rightly point out that it’s a guaranteed recipe for severe concussions. And while only one person has died in a slap fighting league over the years, the nature of the sport guarantees a whole lot of head trauma at every event.
There’s been some concerted efforts to get commissions to shut down slap fighting, but they certainly won’t be shutting down Dana White’s Power Slap League during its debut run on TNT in Jan. 2023 (details here). While we share your fears that professional Power Slappers may get so powerful they decapitate someone outright, we’ll hold our judgement until we see the product ... and assess how greasy it feels to watch.