Fighting fans have reacted to Dana White’s most recent project, the Power Slap League, with lukewarm enthusiasm at best and blatant ridicule at worst. Over the past few weeks, the protests against the brutality of combat sports have been more louder.
Slap combat is based on the idea that two fighters face each other and alternate trying to knock the other out with open-hand strikes. Some people find this idea unpleasant. Because of the dangers of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and brain trauma, athletes and neurologists from other sports have also spoken out against the league.
Sonny Bill Williams, a former rugby player who switched to boxing professionally in 2009, is the most recent participant to express an opinion on the Power Slap League. Williams didn’t seem to be a big fan of the viral format, which is how most internet users feel as well. He expressed his dissatisfaction on Twitter by writing:
“What do followers of rugby and football consider this? Would you allow your kids to participate in it? I absolutely say NO to that.”
Viewership figures show that Dana White’s Power Slape League has not drawn a sizable following. According to SHOWBUZZDAILY, the third episode of the show garnered a 0.09 rating among adults 18-49, which is a decrease from the 0.13 rating the week before.
The league has also been under fire for its inadequate pay scale, which Dana White has defended with flimsy arguments.
Dana White defends viewership of the Power Slap League
Despite being advertised more than the forthcoming UFC 284 pay-per-view, the Power Slap League is not exactly booming on cable television. On Wednesday of last week, Power Slap broadcast the third of its eight episodes, and according to ShowBuzzDaily, the most recent viewership numbers were below average.
However, Dana White said that Power Slap receives more social media views than the UFC, WWE, and even the NFL during the post-event press conference for UFC 68 in Las Vegas. Each TikTok post promoting the new slap-fighting show, according to White, has had over 10 million views:
“In terms of “Power Slap,” social media and digital are insane. I’m not sure if you guys have looked at it, but on TikTok, you know, we average 10 million views every post… and to put it in context, the WWE does 1.5 million, the UFC does 770,000, the NFL does 545,000, and we’re pulling 10 million.”
“Everything they put on that network [TBS] originating from AEW has failed, as evidenced by the television programme, the location we’re in, and everything else. We get between 47 and 50 percent of the AEW audience, and every night, with guys in all of cable, we come in second place to the NBA.”