Dana White’s Power Slap ‘is set to have its pay-per-view debut in March’ with the league’s success continuing to grow as viewing figures skyrocket. Power Slap is set to hold its first ever pay-per-view event after slap-fighting’s success, according to a report.
The inaugural pay-per-view event will take place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas on Saturday March 11, according to Sports Illustrated.
Power Slap’s debut means that UFC’s Fight Night main card, headlined by a crunch bantamweight bout between Petr Yan and Merab Dvalishvili, will be pushed earlier, running at 6pm ET from The Theater at Virgin Hotels in Las Vegas instead.
Power Slap’s first ever champions will be crowned at the pay-per-view event across four different weights – heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, and welterweight.
Two coaches of UFC president Dana White’s Power Slap: Road To The Title, undefeated slap fighter Darius ‘The Destroyer’ Mata-Varona and ‘Wolverine’ Ron Bata, are set to clash for the heavyweight title.
The debut of the show was pushed back a week after White was caught in a video hitting his wife during a New Year’s Eve altercation at a nightclub.
The Power Slap league has drawn criticism from fight-fans and non-fans since hitting television screens.
Chris Nowinski, a Harvard Ph.D. and former wrestler who has criticized the sports world’s handling of concussions, took issue with one recent clip in which one combatant, Chris Kennedy, appeared to show immediate signs of a significant head injury, known as a fencing posture.
‘This is so sad,’ tweeted Nowinski, the co-founder and president of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. ‘Note the fencing posture with the first brain injury. He may never be the same.’
Consultant neurologist professor Nikos Evangelou at Nottingham University Hospital in the UK also expressed concerns, telling Sky News: ‘One of the problems with Power Slap, is that the participants are penalized when they move or flinch. Any movement that might reduce the effect of the blow to the head is penalized.’
The show runs for eight weeks with the finale slated for March 8 on TBS, just in time for the first pay-per-view event.
He said the ‘impact to the head, from an angle, can cause rotational forces on the brain’ – which he says is a ‘recipe for disaster’.
However, despite the controversy, the league has taken off with viewing figures for the second episode on TBS skyrocketing.
The debut episode on January 18 managed 297,000 viewers with episode two attracting an average of 413,000 viewers. Meanwhile, Google searches for ‘slap fighting’ have soared by 239 percent in the last year, according to data from WSN.
Following the backlash from fans and health experts, White assured them that Power Slap league commission is working on improving safety measures. Taking to Instagram, White replied to a comment expressing concern by writing: ‘I hear u. The commission is working on it. Everyone is in a learning process right now. They have learned a lot since the March event and u will see that as the show goes on. But u are absolutely NOT wrong.’
Former fighter Eric Spicely, who had seven fights in the UFC between 2016 and 2019, tweeted that he received the verbal offer to compete on the brutal slap-fighting show, which was $1,997 to show up and then you double your money if you won.
Spicely balked at the offer before describing the pay as ‘f***ing nuts’ – given how viral clips from the ‘sport’ have shown competitors suffering hugely swollen and disfigured faces as a result of the unguarded and heavy blows.