by Christian Duque
Dana White and TBS have sunk to all-time lows by putting forth a new sport known as Power Slap. This is probably one of the most shameful instances of irresponsibly profiting off the suffering of others. And before anyone tries to draw comparisons between this and other full-contact sports like boxing or MMA, let me point to one glaring distinction. In boxing and MMA athletes actively protect themselves, especially their head from strikes. In Power Slap, the competitor must stand there and take an open blow to the head.
Although it’s a palm strike, as opposed to a closed fist, it can still cause pretty dangerous consequences. Many Power Slappers run the constant risk of concussions, brain damage,and facial disfiguration. And even though I’m sure legal teams for both White and TBS have probably toiled for considerable periods of time writing contracts that shield them from liability, I still think they’d be held liable should contestants wind up laid up with brain damage and/or dead.
What literally turns my stomach is that network tv would be an active participant in an activity such as this. I’m having a really hard time calling this a sport and I can see a lot of kids and adolescents trying to act out what they see on tv in their basements and backyards. The decision to move forward with this will have dire consequences with our youth. That as much I can all but guarantee. What’s unsettling though is that sponsors are probably lining up to be a part of this new fad. If Dana could find a legal way to have fights to the death on pay per view and/or at large arenas, I think he’d do it. Gladiator fights galore!
I’m not here to pass moral judgment on a guy who makes his money presenting violent sports, but this is different. Whereas some boxers and/or MMA guys might have brain damage as a result of being involved in fight sports, I can’t imagine not getting brain damage doing Power Slap. And what’s it going to take before the government steps in? I’m not a fan of elected officials dictating what’s entertainment and what’s not, but this type of content doesn’t belong on network television. So am I advocating censorship, something I’ve long despised? To a certain extent I am due to social welfare concerns.
I’d make Power Slap as accessible as hardcore porn. If adults – 18 and over – want to watch it, fine, but youngsters don’t need to see this. Because we know all too well how impressionable they are and we can almost speak with factual certainty that they will try this at home. You can put all the disclaimers you want, but when they see these people drinking popular energy drinks, in car commercials, with gorgeous ringside ladies walking around, they’ll be slapping the hell out of each other in hopes of getting discovered. It’s pretty pathetic how morally bankrupt guys like Dana White are but we have to share this rock called Earth with them.
If Dana is cool with having guys slap each other to the point they’ll become vegetables in their 20’s and 30’s one can only imagine where he draws the line. What’s next? Cock fights? Dog fights? Senior cage matches for more money for their prescription drugs? We all hate the government sticking its nose into our affairs, but not everyone holds basic tenets of decency. That said, the more government’s involved, the less personal freedoms we have. It’s a trade off though.
I don’t for a second want the same guys who ban prohormones to now tell us what’s moral and what’s not, but when they totally step back, we have travesties like this being presented to us as “sports.” One great litmus test is the Olympics, the NCAA, or the AAU. We’re NEVER going to see Power Slap featured in any of these respected athletic organizations. Sadly, it seems just fine for TBS and possibly other networks. Forget Dana White. Just because he signs off on it means little next to nothing to me, but a major station like Turner Broadcasting System? That’s alarming. It’s alarming and it’s disturbing.
I’m curious what kind of viewership this activity will draw. I’m curious what time it’ll air and what sponsors it’ll draw.
Many Americans love violence. Now don’t get me wrong, Iron Magazine readers come from all over the world, but this nonsense is coming from the U.S. and I’d bet it’s largest viewer demographic will be American as well. As I said, Americans love violence. Whether it’s in movies, music, video games or “sports.” In fact, if there’s too much grappling or too much hugging in between flurries of punches in boxing or MMA, some people start fuming. They want to see blackeyes, fat lips, bloody faces and guys struggling to breathe. They feed off of it. They don’t want to see anyone get badly hurt post-fight, at least that’s the hope, but they want fighters to really earn their keep. They figure if they’re going to make a million dollars, they should go to hell and back for it. And they don’t want quick fights, either. They want the fighters to go the distance. Who cares if the longer they go the higher the likelihood they’ll get badly hurt. No one likes to think about that. In this surreal world everyone wipes the blood off their brow and they’re out partying later that night. Everyone’s happy..
Well everyone’s not.
Even the best paid fighters who jetset around the world and drive the most exotic cars have to pay the piper at some point. And what are White and TBS going to do? Conduct CT Scans and MRI’s of slappers after every bout? Or are they just going to avail themselves of the contracts they get these poor bums to sign and wash their hands of any permanent damage these contestants may suffer as a result of their foolish lust for easy money? I mean it doesn’t get any easier. You just stand there, arms and hands at your side, and watch as a guy slaps the hell out of you. Who can just stand there and take that kind of abuse? Of course, after you’ve taken it for weeks, months, and years, some of these guys will have so much brain damage that they’ll be of the opinion that they’re screwed anyways, what’s a few more hits?
Let me stress that I’m not a doctor. I have no medical training. But it’s common sense that taking unprotected, direct head strikes will most likely have very real consequences. The people who sign up for this are nuts, but to each their own. I just pray that kids and adolescents don’t try this at home. I suspect this “sport” will result in pretty high-profile litigation and government action. I’d be surprised if this little venture lasts more than a year or two. Shame on Dana White, TBS, and anyone else gets involved.
It should be noted that as of press time TBS removed Dana White’s slap league from its network but only because a video of Dana and his wife hitting each other at a bar went viral. I have a feeling the network will put the league back on once the domestic violence stink wears off. They didn’t pull it out of fears for the athletes’ safety or to protect impressionable youth that might watch it, they only pulled it to protect their investments. It’s clear their chief concern is making money so I’m sure we’ll be seeing it back in no time. That said, TBS or no TBS, White will surely press on. He’s another one who’s all about making money.
There’s nothing wrong with being profitable, but it’s how you get there that I take issue with. Power Slap is not a sport in my opinion. What’s your take on Power Slap?