The hit viral sensation of men and woman slapping each other in what’s known as ‘Powerslap’ has divided opinions on whether it’s more dangerous compared to MMA. It’s easy to see why people would make a comparison between the two, as both involve some form of physical contact and can result in serious injuries.
Some argue that with an open palm strike, Powerslap is less dangerous than MMA where the use of punches and kicks are allowed. While others believe that the lack of proper training and safety measures in Powerslap makes it more dangerous than MMA.
So, here at MMA Panda we decided to take a look at Powerslap vs MMA and find out if Powerslap is safe enough for mainstream entertainment.
Is Powerslap Dangerous?
Simply put, yes. Powerslap is dangerous. But you already knew that didn’t you? Dana White might be promoting Powerslap as a form of entertainment, but I doubt he’s ever going to tell the public to start inviting their friends over for a game of Powerslap. It’s dumb, it makes you dumber, and that’s why some people love watching it.
The phrase, “Defend yourself at all times” is a well-known saying in MMA and comes from boxing, and it’s exactly what the fighters do. From slips to high gloves to block punches or kicks, fighters are constantly using their hands and arms to protect themselves.
In contrast, Powerslap involves one person standing still while another strikes them with an open palm. It’s against the rules to block or defend the slap in any way. This lack of defensive techniques and strategies makes Powerslap appear more dangerous compared to MMA.
Concerns from Nitin Agarwal (neurosurgeon at the Washington University School of Medicine) has expressed this concern…
“When it comes to the physical aspect of the martial arts, safety and defense are primary. By its virtue, slap boxing is an offensive sport. There is no defense.”Nitin Agarwal
His worries explained during a Washington Post interview is fair and it’s not wrong to worry about an open palm strike.
He also has extensive martial arts backgrounds, so it’s not to say that he is coddled and fearful of this type of sport. But his expertise adds validity to the dangers surrounding Powerslap, and they aren’t as present in other sports like MMA, where defensive skills are equally emphasized.
This is especially true as a rotational strikes are a biomechanical predictor of TBI. This is the primary (and only allowed type of strike) that is allowed in Powerslap. It’s like Powerslap is the perfect platform for developing CTE with its rotational concussive blows.
Powerslap and CTE (What Are The Concerns?)
While Powerslap may seem like just a fun viral trend, there are serious concerns about its potential dangers. One of the main concerns is the risk of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease that has been linked to repeated head trauma.
This disease has been plaguing combat sports for decades, with studies showing that MMA fighters are at a higher risk of developing CTE compared to other athletes. With Powerslap, the concern is not only the repeated slaps to the head but also the force and unpredictability of these strikes.
Another concern is falling after a hard slap, which can lead to serious head and neck injuries. To be fair, they have implemented a system where people try and catch the person who has been slapped, but it’s not always possible to prevent falls as they may stumble forward making it difficult for them to be caught.
What CTE Does To The Brain
CTE is a progressive disease that can cause symptoms such as memory loss, confusion, personality changes, and dementia. Yeah, pretty nasty stuff. With side effects like these, it’s no wonder that there are concerns about Powerslap and its potential long-term effects on the brain.
While there are valid concerns about the safety of Powerslap, there are also steps being taken to mitigate any potential risks. For example, organizers of Powerslap events have implemented rules such as using open palms instead of closed fists for slaps, and requiring participants to wear protective gear.
To ensure safety, it is mandatory for all participants to wear a mouth guard and cotton inner ear protectors.
“No Participant will be permitted to participate in a Match if he or she refuses to wear the requisite safety equipment.” – Powerslap
Participants are prohibited from applying any form of body grease, gels, balms, lotions, oils, or other substances to their hair, face, or body. This differs from UFC and other mixed martial arts organizations because they often allow for such substances to be used. It’s speculated that this is because body grease and oils can significantly reduce the impact of a strike, which would defeat the purpose of Powerslap.
In MMA, organizations such as the UFC and ONE Championships have implements rules and regulations to ensure the safety of their athletes. For example, the UFC has strict weight classes to prevent mismatches in size and strength, as well as medical suspensions for fighters who have been knocked out or suffered other injuries during a match.
Steroid use is also prohibited, with the USADA jacket being an ultimate prize of virtue for those who stay clean. Similarily, Powerslap also has strict regulations against steroid use, with regular drug testing being conducted to ensure fair play and safety for all participants.
Neck Strength and Concussions
One way that these athletes can reduce their risk of injury is by focusing on strengthening their neck muscles. A strong neck can help absorb the impact of a strike and prevent whiplash, which is known to cause concussions. With a reduction of 5% in concussions for every pound of neck strength, it’s clear that having a strong neck is crucial in combat sports.
Reduction does not mean eliminating, however. Despite having strong neck muscles, concussions and other injuries can still occur in MMA and Powerslap. Especially with each repeated blow being another spin of the wheel of probability.
Is Powerslap More Dangerous Than MMA
While Powerslap may seem more brutal than other combat sports, such as MMA, it’s important to note that there is no consensus on whether or not it poses a higher risk for head injuries.
It’s argued that Powerslap might get more flack for being dangerous simply because many find it shocking and unconventional. I mean, with shin kicks to the head and other forms of brutal strikes, it’s not for the faint-hearted.
Strangulations and join manipulation is also a part of MMA, yet their level of acceptance is much higher than that of Powerslap. Critics of Powerslap argue that the sport’s goal is to cause serious harm to its participants, while others argue that it’s simply another form of combat sport with its own set of rules and safety measures.
Comparisons To Combat Jiu-Jitsu
Combat Jiu-Jitsu, another emerging sport that combines aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and striking, also presents potential risks for head trauma. This too involves open hand strikes and has recieved much more praise for it’s level of safety and sportsmanship than Powerslap. However, both Combat Jiu-Jitsu and Powerslap have similar injury risks as MMA.
The difference is that the percieved brutality of Powerslap draws more attention and criticism. In Combat Jiu-Jitsu, the strikes are seen as a necessary element to create a more realistic and complete form of fighting. Whereas in Powerslap, some see it as gratuitous and unnecessarily violent.
In Combat Jiu-Jitsu participants are not only able to defend themselves from these strikes but encouraged. These strikes are also mostly meant to open up jiu-jitsu transitions, rather than cause serious harm.
This approach to strikes in Combat Jiu-Jitsu has helped the broader world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu gain more acceptance as it makes for a faster pace and more realistic fight. Rather than stalling and holding positions, fighters are encouraged to make quick and decisive moves towards submissions, otherwise they can expect to receive unpleasant strikes.
Is Powerslap Safe?
When it comes to Powerslap vs MMA from a danger point of view, it’s hard to say which is ultimately more dangerous. Both sports carry risks, particularly when it comes to head trauma. Powerslap is simply not safe. But as we mentioned earlier, it was never meant to be safe. Sure, there are safety precautions in place but what made the sport so viral was that it was definetly dangerous.
Despite the risks involved, many people still choose to participate in Powerslap and MMA because of their love for combat sports and the rush they get from competing. Being a winner is worth the head trauma to some. Others are doing it purely for the money. And some slap the living sh*t out off another to settle beef.
The Danger Is In The Influence…
On a final note, it’s important to acknowledge the potential danger of these combat sports, not just for the participants but also for younger viewers who may be influenced by what they see. Whether they sustain serious injury or not? (most likely all participants will to some degree), they are still seen as winners and if more people continue to watch it, more will continue to participate.
No disrespect to the athletes in Powerslap but imagine coming home one day seeing your kids slapping the heck out off each other, knowing that this influenced them to do so. It’s a scary thought and one that should not be ignored. Powerslap is mostly promoted on streaming sites and the youth are more likely to see it, this is where the danger lies.
To be fair, WWE and UFC also has a huge influence on kids, and while they may not be as dangerous as Powerslap, they still carry risks and should not be taken lightly. Ultimately, it’s up to parents and guardians to educate their children on the potential dangers and help them make informed decisions about what sports they want to participate in.