Former WWE wrestler and neuroscientist Chris Nowinski took aim at UFC president Dana White and TBS following the premiere episode of “Power Slap: Road to the Title,” a reality series about the UFC-backed slap fighting league, which premiered Wednesday on cable TV.
Nowinski, one of the country’s leading experts on concussions, shared a video Thursday on Twitter that deeply disturbed him. In it, combatant Chris Kennedy appeared to show immediate signs of a significant brain injury. Nowinski identified it as “the fencing posture,” which, according to Healthline, is “when a person experiences an impact that’s strong enough to cause traumatic brain injury (TBI), such as a concussion, their arms often go into an unnatural position.”
Along with his expert analysis about the clip, Nowinski had a few words for White and TBS.
“This is so sad. Note the fencing posture with the first brain injury. He may never be the same,” Nowinski tweeted. “Dana White & TBS should be ashamed. Pure exploitation. What’s next, ‘Who can survive a stabbing’?”
Nowinski’s criticism of Power Slap comes after posted a viral clip of a separate slap fighting event earlier this week, in which the left side of a combatant’s face showed extreme swelling.
“I believe adults can choose to do dangerous jobs if they understand the risks & reasonable efforts are made to protect them,” Nowinski tweeted. “But head hits with no defense is just sad. It reminds us that people who don’t take the risks often exploit those who do.
As he alluded to, Nowinski, like other medical experts, seemingly takes umbrage with the senselessness of slap fighting. The fact that combatants, unlike in mixed martial or boxing, aren’t allowed to defend themselves is what has driven critics to speak out.
The first season of “Power Slap: Road to the Title” is set to continue with seven more episodes – in the same vain as “The Ultimate Fighter” – and culminate with a pay-per-view.
Power Slap debuted just 16 days after White was caught on camera slapping his wife after she slapped him first at a Mexican nightclub on New Year’s Eve. It originally was supposed to premiere Jan. 11 but got pushed back a week in the wake of White’s domestic violence incident.
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