Dana White’s new slap-fighting league is slammed by expert

Dana White’s controversial Power Slap league has drawn criticism from fight fans and non-fans, alike, and is now being condemned by a leading neuroscientist.

Chris Nowinski, a Harvard Ph.D. and former wrestler who has criticized the sports world’s handling of concussions, took issue with a recent clip in which one combatant, Chris Kennedy, appeared to show immediate signs of a significant head injury, known as a fencing postures.

‘This is so sad,’ tweeted Nowinski, the co-founder and president of the Concussion Legacy Foundation. ‘Note the fencing posture with the first brain injury. He may never be the same.’

Dana White 's controversial Power Slap league has drawn criticism from fight fans and non-fans, alike, and is now being condemned by a leading neuroscientist

Dana White ‘s controversial Power Slap league has drawn criticism from fight fans and non-fans, alike, and is now being condemned by a leading neuroscientist

Chris Nowinski, a Harvard Ph.D. and former wrestler who has criticized the sports world's handling of concussions, took issue with a recent clip in which one combatant, Chris Kennedy, appeared to show immediate signs of a significant head injury, known as a fencing postures

Chris Nowinski, a Harvard Ph.D. and former wrestler who has criticized the sports world’s handling of concussions, took issue with a recent clip in which one combatant, Chris Kennedy, appeared to show immediate signs of a significant head injury, known as a fencing postures

A fencing posture or fencing response involves victims’ hands shooting into an unnatural position with their forearms flexed outward.

Nowinski, who also played college football for Harvard, took aim at White, the promoter, and TBS, which airs the brutal competition.

‘@danawhite & @TBSNetwork should be ashamed,’ Nowinski added. ‘Pure exploitation. What’s next, ”Who can survive a stabbing?”’

The sport was first popularized three years ago in Eastern Europe with a series of viral videos starring 370-pound Russian sensation Vasiliy Khamotiskiy.

Known as ‘Dumpling,’ Khamotiskiy was seen in one video knocking a massive unconscious opponent to win 30,000 rubles, which was about $475 at the time. Other viral videos show Dumpling training by squashing watermelons and flipping tractor tires.

A fencing posture or fencing response involves victims' hands shooting into an unnatural position with their forearms flexed outward

A fencing posture or fencing response involves victims’ hands shooting into an unnatural position with their forearms flexed outward

Nowinski (pictured), who also played college football for Harvard, took aim at White, the promoter, and TBS, which airs the brutal competition

Nowinski (pictured), who also played college football for Harvard, took aim at White, the promoter, and TBS, which airs the brutal competition

White, who is facing backlash after video emerged of him slapping his wife at a New Year's Eve party in Mexico, has defended PowerSlap, insisting that health and safety measures are taken seriously

White, who is facing backlash after video emerged of him slapping his wife at a New Year’s Eve party in Mexico, has defended PowerSlap, insisting that health and safety measures are taken seriously

Fighters are left completely defenseless in slap-fighting events, which has ignited concern

Fighters are left completely defenseless in slap-fighting events, which has ignited concern

The social media exposure helped grow the sport into a pay-per-view event, but things turned tragic in October of 2021 when a Polish slap fighter and body builder named Artur ‘Waluś’ Walczak was knocked down four times and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at at ‘Punchdown’ event in Wrocław, Poland. The 46-year-old was taken to the hospital, placed in a medically induced coma, and ultimately died in November from multi-organ failure, according to Polish reports.

In the aftermath, Polish authorities launched an investigation into the safety conditions for competitors at Punchdown 5, while promoters insisted that Walczak’s health remained highest priority after his fourth and final knockdown.

‘The competitor [Walczak] remained aware, but the disturbing neurological symptoms observed by the rescuers prompted them to call the ambulance service,’ read a statement from Punchdown.

Punchdown has since changed its name to Slap Fighting Championship.

Other slap promotions have been in existence longer than White’s circuit, including the Missouri-based SlapFight.

Things turned tragic in October of 2021 when a Polish slap fighter named Artur 'Walu¿' Walczak (pictured) was knocked down four times and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at a 'Punchdown' event in Wroc¿aw, Poland.  The 46-year-old was taken to the hospital, placed in a medically induced coma, and ultimately died in November from multi-organ failure, according to reports

Things turned tragic in October of 2021 when a Polish slap fighter named Artur ‘Waluś’ Walczak (pictured) was knocked down four times and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage at a ‘Punchdown’ event in Wrocław, Poland. The 46-year-old was taken to the hospital, placed in a medically induced coma, and ultimately died in November from multi-organ failure, according to reports

White, who is facing backlash after video emerged of him slapping his wife at a New Year’s Eve party in Mexico, has defended PowerSlap, insisting that health and safety measures are taken seriously.

‘We spend the money to make sure we have two healthy people in there and proper medical attention during and after the fight,’ White said. ‘These are all the things we need to educate people on, just like we needed to educate people on mixed martial arts.’

As White told Just The Fights, he believes slap fighting is safer than boxing, where fighters can defend themselves, while being struck hundreds of times in a bout.

Slap fighting, on the other hand, typically involves only a few blows per match, although combatants are prohibited from defending themselves.

‘In Slap, they take three-to-five slaps per event. Fighters in boxing take 300-400 punches per fight. And guess what: do you know what my answer to that is? If you don’t f***ing like it, don’t watch it.

Comsa stood with his hands raised after being crowned champion of the competition

Comsa stood with his hands raised after being crowned champion of the competition

SLAP FIGHTING RULES

Two competitors stand at a podium and trade open-palm slaps

The duel is watched by three judges – two directly observing the fight and one analyzing replays

Each competitor must have a mouth guard and ear protection in place

There are 3 rounds in the bout – in each of them, the participant has one hit

There must be supporters near the competitor, to prevent them from falling after a slap

Before taking their shot, the players rub talcum powder on their hands

Feet position must be maintained before, during and after the slap

It is forbidden to strike the temple, orbit, nose, ear, larynx

The judges will make the final, irrevocable decision of the bout

Competitors can also win via KO, TKO or disqualification

‘Nobody’s asking you to watch this. Oh, you’re disgusted by it? Watch ”The Voice.”

At a recent Slap Fighting Championship event in Romania, one fighter was left with a disfigured face, but he did get some praise from UFC legend Conor McGregor.

A video clip from the tournament went viral, showing Sorin Comsa receiving a brutal strike to the head, which had him looking unrecognizable.

In the clip, which happened to be the final of the tournament, Comsa is competing against Alexandru Gorczyca. The latter bids his time before landing a flush, open-palm strike on his opponent.

Comsa immediately looked dazed and puts his hand on his temple – seemingly complaining about the validity of the strike before continuing.

McGregor analyzed Gorczyca’s brutal strike and tweeted: ‘Absolutely gorgeous technique congrats the new heavy weight champion.’

Despite receiving the heavy blow in the video clip, Comsa went on to beat his opponent, winning a title and about $5,500.

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