You can be forgiven for thinking that the UFC appears to be the world’s biggest supporter of banning combat sports for humanitarian reasons. For years, MMA has relied on the idea that boxing is too rigidly governed, too strict in its rules, and that “real” fights should contain a range of disciplines rather than just one. Along the way, they dodged accusations that open fighting styles did sport After dangerous than boxing, even though medical research has confirmed it.
Now the UFC has gone even further, be reckless in announcing the creation of the Power Slap League. Dana White has given the green light to the project and will provide a television platform for this most ridiculous “sport”.
What is slap fighting?
Imagine that a four-year-old child invents the rules of a combat sport. Whatever you have in mind, you’re probably not far off the mark. The slap fight is where two opponents stand at arm’s length from each other and take turns slapping each other. They are not allowed to move, flinch or defend themselves in any way.
One participant has already died in slap fights, when Polish strongman Artur “Waluś” Walczak was hospitalized after taking part in a slap fight gala and succumbed to his injuries a few weeks later.
Fighters who cannot be licensed in other states or territories are often cleared to wrestle by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. And so is the Power Slap League.
It seems like this sport is designed specifically to concuss its competitors. Maybe the NFL will share some of their research with the UFC, if only White would read it.
All kidding aside, the most significant danger of slap fights is the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive brain condition closely associated with receiving multiple blows to the head. Health professionals have long warned athletes about the impact contact sports can have on your health.
Will the UFC prioritize the safety of its competitors?
In what may be a concession to Nevada officials, the Power Slap League promised to “eliminate some of the most archaic aspects of the sport that exist at lower levels, like two opponents with vastly different weights and matches that last multiple rounds.
UFC commercial director Hunter Campbell continues: “The rules will deal with fouls, permitted slapping areas and safety requirements like mouth guards and earplugs.”
Some things are certain here. First, slap fighting is not a valid sport. Second, slap fights are incredibly popular. And third, Dana White and the UFC will make a tonne money from it. And in the end, that’s all that will matter.