Dana White’s Power Slap League has been nothing short of a disaster from the moment it was announced.
Slap fighting quickly became an internet sensation in recent years, but it’s becoming evident that the UFC president’s attempt to mass market the brutal viral sport is quickly backfiring. Fans and fighters alike have criticized the so-called sport. You can now add renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani to that list. The MMA Hour host recently shared his honest thoughts on Power Slap and condemned those that allowed it to happen, specifically the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
“I still maintain the ones who look worst in all of this are the commissions, and in particular Nevada,” Helwani said on an episode of The MMA Hour. “The officials, both the ones working for Nevada and the UFC who are attaching themselves to this because, to me, you’re losing a lot of credibility, if not all of it, if you are saying this is something that is worthy of your time. That you want to be a part of anything like that. Because again, if the UFC and Zuffa wasn’t involved, there’s no chance of Nevada sanctioning it and I don’t care if you’re gonna sit here and tell me, ‘It’s because they’re involved we feel better about it. It’s safer.’ Hogwash.
“You don’t sanction BFKC, but you sanction this. Explain yourself. You can’t. Using MMA referees and MMA officials. Ridiculous. The whole thing is ridiculous. They don’t look like athletes. They don’t behave like athletes. They don’t get paid like athletes. I mean, what are we talking about here?”
Ariel Helwani talks Power Slap.#TheMMAHour pic.twitter.com/fz7JundBW8
— Jed I. Goodman © (@jedigoodman) January 25, 2023
Power Slap Debuted With a Whimper, Earning Less Than 300,000 Viewers
Power Slap debuted on TBS on January 18 to little fanfare, netting an estimated 295,000 viewers. As a result, the network has appeared to significantly pull back its promotion of the program.
“The rating was abysmal. The rating will most likely go down,” Helwani said. “You see that it’s not being promoted as much on AEW. You see Dana’s name not being attached to it as much.”
Slap fighting has been around for years but recently rose to prominence in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was something you regularly saw clips of while scrolling through social media. Attempting to capitalize on the sudden popularity, it’s clear that Power Slap has failed to capture the hearts of combat sports fans using an all too familiar formula that worked wonders more than a decade ago.
“Slap is something you go, you open your phone, you see it for 10 seconds, you swipe. You go to the next thing. It’s not a show. It’s not a league. It comes across as a bunch of older out of touch guys saw this on an Instagram reel or TikTok and were like, ‘Oh, let’s make this into the thing’ and they’re using the same playbook they used 15 years ago with The Ultimate Fighter and they’re trying to do it all over again. It ain’t gonna work. There’s no appetite for it. It should have just been an online thing to be honest and leave it at that.