Ariel Helwani does not believe that Power Slap is having the kind of success that Dana White is bragging about.
Prominent MMA media member Ariel Helwani and UFC president Dana White have never really seen eye to eye. They have a long-standing beef with each other stemming from a breaking news story about Brock Lesnar many years ago. Helwani has always been critical of Dana White and even when he was a reporter for ESPN, was banned from being around White. Now he is continuing his tirade on the UFC president and this time targeting his newest venture, Power Slap.
White recently started a slap-fighting promotion he calls Power Slap. Along with former UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, White has gone all in on slap fighting. He is promoting it on the UFC social pages and has created a reality show around the sport. He is constantly bragging about the quick success the sport has found and comparing it to the UFC and other major sports leagues. Helwani is taking offense to these claims and doubting White’s numbers.
“That’s a great thing that they cut a deal for Slap with something called Rumble. To boast, though, that it’s bigger than the deal that they cut after the first season of The Ultimate Fighter on Spike TV, back in 2005. If my math is correct, that is 18 years ago, seems a little bit suspect,” he said. “I believe there’s something called inflation. The economy changed. Yeah, you’ve heard of that…But to apply that they are better than the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, Major League Baseball, F1, WWE and to imply that Slaps social numbers are bigger than all of them combined…No entity is bigger than all of them combined. None and certainly not two truck drivers from Idaho slapping each other in front of six people at the Apex.”
Ariel Helwani thinks MMA media should not promote Power Slap
Helwani has a weekly MMA show called The MMA Hour. On it, he hosts guests that include promoters, fighters, and other combat sports people. For the most part, he is not in attendance at UFC events and never speaks to White directly. In a recent UFC press conference, White was asked about Power Slap by another media outlet. Now Helwani is suggesting people not do that and maybe Power Slap will go away.
“I don’t believe because the UFC or Dana White or Lorenzo Fertitta invest in slap means that an MMA show or any combat show has to talk about it. I think it’s gutter stuff. I don’t understand why MMA media talks about it,” he said. “Why are we still asking about this? Why are we still covering this? Because it involves him and it’s a business thing that they’re doing then fine, then if that’s the answer, fine, but I don’t think one has to do with the other. I don’t think because you are an MMA media member you have to cover all the other entities. I just don’t. And I suspect as time goes on, it will just kind of phase out fizzle out.”
Helwani’s rant about not talking about Power Slap lasted about ten minutes and now has in itself generated news about the league. He may be looking to get rid of slap fighting but the truth is that there are people who are interested in it and for the foreseeable future it seems as if the UFC and White will continue promoting it.