Despite lackluster ratings and TBS declining to re-up for a second season, UFC president Dana White remains bullish on the future prospects of Power Slap.
During the UFC 286 post-fight press conference, White fielded a question about Power Slap- from a “journalist” who also asked for a job as Power Slap matchmaker – about his professional slap fighting league.
“A lot of people were shitting on this thing,” White said of Power Slap, “Watch what we do with this thing over the next two years… What we’re doing now is we’re going out and getting this thing sanctioned everywhere.”
Bloody Elbow checked on White’s claim that “We’re going out and getting this thing sanctioned everywhere.” To do so, we contacted every state with an athletic commission about the prospect of holding sanctioned slap fighting events under their jurisdiction. We found is that White’s claim was, at best, a stretch.
The question we sent was simple, asking each commission “if slap fighting has been approved by your athletic commission or if your commission is currently considering approving slap fighting as a sanctioned combat sport.”
Replies from each commission about Dana White’s Power Slap regulation:
- Alabama: Slap fighting is illegal per the commission website.
- California: The Commission is not considering slap fighting.
- Colorado: Slap fighting is not currently approved or under consideration by the Colorado Combative Sports Commission.
- Connecticut: At this time slap fighting has not been legalized or approved in the State of Connecticut and it is not up for consideration at this time.
- Florida: At this time, the Florida Athletic Commission (FAC) has not made a decision on slap fighting and there is no set date for a decision to be made. The FAC is planning to discuss the matter further with medical professionals at a future meeting.
- Georgia: Power Slap does not meet the definition of any approved fighting style authorized by law and regulated by the Commission. See O.C.G.A. § 43-4B-1. Further, it appears to meet the definition of unarmed combat under O.C.G.A. § 43-4B-1(20). The promotion of, and participation in, unarmed combat is prohibited in Georgia. See O.C.G.A. § 43-4B-21(c) and (d).
- Idaho: The Idaho Athletic Commission has neither considered nor approved slap fighting.
- Indiana: The Indiana Gaming Commission regulates boxing, mixed martial arts, and combative sports when expressly permitted by the Indiana General Assembly. This occurs when the Indiana General Assembly passes a statute or amends an existing statute explicitly authorizing the IGC to adopt regulations for boxing, mixed martial art, and combative sports. Indiana Code 4-33-22-12 specifically details the boxing, mixed martial arts, and combative sports that the IGC may adopt rules to allow and regulate, of which slap boxing is not one. Therefore, unless there is explicit authorization from the Indiana General Assembly, slap boxing is not permitted in Indiana.
- Kentucky: At this time Kentucky does not sanction “slap fighting,” and the Kentucky Boxing and Wrestling Commission is not currently considering a change to our regulation to include these events.
- Maryland: There are no plans at the present time for the approval of slap fighting in Maryland. This would first require action by the State Legislature before the Maryland Athletic Commission could draft and promulgate regulations to govern such an activity.
- Michigan: The Michigan Unarmed Combat Commission (Commission) is unable to safely sanction “unarmed combat” events, besides professional boxing or professional/amateur mixed martial arts events, under the Unarmed Combat Regulatory Act, unless it promulgates specific rules of engagement that do not otherwise conflict with Michigan’s Unarmed Combat Regulatory Act. Currently there are no rules of engagement for slap fighting in the State of Michigan.
- Minnesota: Slap fighting has not been approved by our Department and we have no plans to approve it as a sanctioned sport.
- Mississippi: Slap fighting has not been approved in Mississippi. Slap fighting is being considered and discussed by Commission.
- Nebraska: In Nebraska sports may only be added to my jurisdiction by law makers. To my knowledge there is not an existing bill mentioning slap fighting.
- Nevada: Approved in October 2022.
- New Hampshire: We have not approved of this.
- New York: For your awareness, our current rules would not allow Slap Fighting to occur in New York State.
- North Dakota: Our rules state the combatant must be gloved. Hence, we are limited to mostly boxing an MMA.
- Oklahoma: We have slap fighting on our March 22nd Commission meeting agenda for discussion and possible action. Update – response from Oklahoma regarding March 22 meeting: The Commission ruled that the Athletic Commission would not license or regulate slap fighting. They did direct me to request an Attorney Generals Opinion on whether or not it is legal in Oklahoma pursuant to the statutory definitions of combat sports contained in the Title 3A The Oklahoma State Athletic Commission Act.
- Oregon: The UFC reached out to us to review their rules. We have a process in place to submit to our commission as well as seek advice from our medical advisory board. Then rules and changes go to our DOJ and legislature when fees are increased or assessed. In short, our commission has no opinion or thoughts. We currently have a process to follow and this will take 6 months to a year. This also provides time to seek additional information such as the Assoc. of Ringside Physician break out session regarding slap fighting in June. Our opinion on Slap Fighting is solely based upon the process and the safety of the competitors. Those are yet to be examined and we intend to do our due diligence in seeking medical advice as well as our Commission recommendations.
- Rhode Island: The Department of Business Regulation’s Gaming and Athletics Division regulates professional boxing and mixed martial arts. We are not aware of any legislative proposals regarding slap fighting.
- South Carolina: The South Carolina Athletic Commission has not approved slap fighting and has no current plans to consider the issue. As the regulatory body for combat sports in South Carolina, it would be unlawful for a promoter to stage a slap fighting event in South Carolina without the Athletic Commission’s approval.
- Tennessee: Slap fighting is not currently approved in Tennessee.
- Texas: No one has asked to schedule a competition of this kind. As always, we would carefully consider any request we were receive.
- Washington: We would not be able to consider slap fighting in Washington state without some type of changes to the statutes/laws. This would require someone from the industry to work through the legislative process to propose those changes. This type of activity would fall under our definition of “martial arts.” Based on our laws and rules and our authority, this type of an event would not be permitted in Washington State. During a slap fighting contest, participants utilize blows to defeat an opponent without the use of gloves and opponents are not able to defend themselves. Gloves and the ability for participants to defend themselves, among other safety requirements in our laws and rules, are in place to protect the safety and welfare of all participants. In addition, it’s unknown if these participants are trained in the sport of martial arts. If not, this type of a contest may be considered “Combative Fighting” which is illegal in our state.
- Wyoming: As of this time, we have not formally addressed the issue as we have not had a request for an event. We generally don’t have meetings without an agenda of issues to cover. If someone puts in for an event, we will look at it at that time.
The following athletic commissions did not respond: Arizona, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
To sum things up, only Nevada is the only athletic commission that responded that has approved slap fighting.
Power Slap held its first event on January 18, 2023. TBS delayed the first show by a week after White was caught on video slapping his wife while on a family vacation in Mexico. Over the course of the shows eight-week run, the most viewers an episode had was Week 2 with 4143,000. The programs lowest number of viewers came during the final episode, which drew 220,000 viewers.
TBS declined to renew the program for a second season. White later announced the streaming service Rumble would be the home for Power Slap for the next two years.
*Story has been updated with Oklahoma’s response following it’s March 22 commission meeting.
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