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Friday, June 14, 2024

UFC President Dana White Says Power Slap Is ‘Winner’

  • Viewership over the first four episodes has averaged a respectable 275,000 viewers.
  • White acknowledged show's delay due to domestic event: 'timing is ironic and horrible at the same time'.
Power Slap

PHOENIX — Dana White made sure it was noted “Power Slap Road to the Title” is his third episodic reality sports show that he’s executive produced.

“Do you remember we did ‘The Ultimate Surfer?” White asked during an interview with Front Office Sports last week. “That was on ABC. The problem was we didn’t control the World Surf League.”

“The Ultimate Surfer” lasted one season, 29 fewer than the run White’s “Ultimate Fighter” is on currently. His latest show on TBS has been slightly more controversial as defenseless combatants absorb slaps at close range and blow over the first four episodes, resulting in multiple competitors showing telltale signs of concussions. 

White was at Super Bowl’s media row promoting the slap-fighting league he created and pushed for it to be a sanctioned sport in Nevada. White, of course, is proud of the Power Slap League and was comfortable enough to mention why the show’s debut was delayed a week unpromoted. 

“This is a work in progress,” White said. “We put this thing on TV. My New Year’s Eve incident didn’t help. The timing is ironic and horrible at the same time.”

Less than three days before the show was supposed to premiere, TMZ published a video of White and his wife trading slaps at a Mexican nightclub. The debut episode was pushed back to Jan. 18, the only measurable fallout for White over the altercation.

Viewership over the first four episodes has averaged a respectable 275,000 viewers. But White pointed out the domestic TV audience is only one avenue to make Power Slap successful. 

“We are still figuring out how to navigate this thing,” White said. “But the one thing that we do know is it’s a hit, and it’s a winner. If you look at the international numbers [on Rumble] that we’re pulling, they are astronomical. We had places like Russia and Poland that we knew were going to be big. But we are starting to see the UK, Canada, India, and Indonesia pop.” 

White also touted social media metrics, which include that the Power Slap TikTok account needed only a handful of episodes to amass 1.9 million followers — more than double AWE, Power Slap’s lead-in each Wednesday. 

As far as the critics, White said the pushback was something he saw when he convinced brothers Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta to buy UFC for $2 million in 2001. The Fertittas, who sold a controlling stake in UFC for $4 billion to Endeavor in 2016, has again teamed up with White on Power Slap. 

“We literally just had a big Slap meeting … with Lorenzo and Frank,” White said. “A lot of the things we are seeing in the media are identical to what was said about the UFC in the early days. That’s when you know you gotta hit.”

The first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” kicked (and punched) UFC — which had a solid core following when the show hit the air in 2005 — into the mainstream. The finale from nearly 18 years ago is still talked about today in MMA circles. 

White said in the first episode that the finale — where two finalists in each Slap weight division — would be on pay-per-view. White told FOS he’s working on “how to bring the finale to the masses and get more people to watch.”

While he didn’t say where the finale would be broadcast (or streamed), White said it would take place in March. Like UFC, White has complete control of Power Slap to figure all the logistics out — something he didn’t have with “The Ultimate Surfer.”

“I didn’t agree with how they worked [the surf league],” White said, “That could have really been something if they handled it the right way.”

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