Neurologists Are Concerned About Dana White’s Power Slap League - Men's Health Magazine Australia

Neurologists Are Concerned About Dana White’s Power Slap League

Dana White’s controversial new Power Slap League is facing a barrage of backlash from scientists and spectators alike. Neurologists are now criticising the sport’s safety, saying it’s a “recipe for disaster.”

You might be familiar with the popular playground game known as ‘slap’, in which the aim is to slap your opponent as hard as possible. The ensuing result is typically one of tears and bruises. It’s the kind of game that you grow out of once you reach adulthood and cringe while remembering. Most people leave such brazen acts of stupidity behind, but the sport of power slapping, which UFC President Dana White calls “The ultimate test of toughness,” is rapidly growing. While scientists are warning that slap fighting can have serious health complications.

Slap fighting as an organised sport is relatively young. It’s been gaining popularity in Eastern Europe since the early 2000’s and has now made its way to the mainstream in the form of a TV show called Power Slap: Road To The Title. The show features eight episodes and is produced by Dana White. It brings together competitors from across the globe in a quest to find the athlete with the world’s most powerful slap. And is apparently 100% unscripted.

The rules are simple. Over the course of three rounds, competitors try to slap their opponents as hard as they can. Delivering open hand slaps below eye-level to the face of their opponents. After being slapped, competitor’s have 30 seconds to get back into fighting position, or they are eliminated. Each round’s winner receives ten points. While the loser receives nine points or fewer. Importantly, the competitor being slapped is not allowed to flinch. Meaning they are basically defenceless.

The show is facing massive backlash after going viral. Leaving concerned viewer’s and scientists worried for competitors safety. With neurologists warning of the severe consequences such blows to the head can have. Wrestler turned neurologist Chris Nowinski took to Twitter to share his disgust for the show. Nowinski said the show “pure exploitation” and called out the sports absurdity. “What’s next, ‘Who can survive a stabbing?'” Nowinski said.

Boxing promoter Sam Jones also condemned the sport. “Ridiculous and Dangerous.” Jones said. “Nobody should be giving this any kind of platform And Dana White saying he takes fighters’ health seriously is quite laughable when he’s endorsing this shit.”

Other industry experts have said that the sport can potentially cause severe long-term physical harm to competitors and can result in death. “One of the problems with Power Slap, is that the participants are penalised when they move or flinch.” Professor Nikos Evangelou told Sky News. In other combat sports, athletes are able to move and evade to soften blows. In Power Slap, competitors are facing the full force of the blow without any protection.

“It’s only a matter of time before we see a more serious brain injury from a dissection.”

Evangelou says the force of a slap is very similar to that of a punch. While slapping is generally seen as a less serious blow, competitors in the Power Slap League are actively trying to avoid moving their head. Meaning that more risks are present. “Because of the potential twisting movement of the head there could be even more serious complications.” Evangelou said.

A slap can result in death if a major artery supplying blood to the brain is ruptured. Although a handful of long-term complications from repeated head trauma are far more likely, such as memory loss, worsened cognitive function and CTE.

Dana White was quick to downplay the backlash in a recent interview, “Nobody’s asking you to watch this,” White said. “We spend the money to make sure we have two healthy people in there. With proper medical attention during and after the fight.” White said that viewers need to be educated on the sport like any other martial art.

Hunter Campbell, the UFC’s Chief Business Officer, said the Power Slap league’s safety measures underwent rigorous testing. With similar medical requirements to other combat sports such as competitive matchmaking and weight classes. “After testing it, it became clear to us that there’s massive potential here as a sport.” Campbell said. “It made all the sense in the world to go toward regulation before the sport commencing for all the obvious reasons. Number one, the health and safety of the competitors.”

By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

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