Dana White's slap-fighting league is embroiled in a fresh wave of controversy, as six participants have been penalized for testing positive in drug tests.
Slap fighting, a recently introduced sport where two contenders stand opposite each other on a podium and take turns slapping each other in the face in an attempt to score a knockout, has faced significant scrutiny. The Nevada Athletic Commission, on Wednesday, imposed sanctions on a total of six Power Slap fighters who were found to have violated anti-doping regulations, with substances ranging from steroids to narcotics.
Initially, these competitors faced temporary suspensions, but now all six individuals have received full suspensions and fines as a consequence. Furthermore, some matches have been declared no-contests due to the findings.
Here’s a full list of the Power Slap competitors and punishments handed down by the commission:
- Jay Rivera, who competed in a slap fighting bout on March 11, suspended for six months after testing positive for GW-1516, sulfone and sulfoxide, hormone and metabolic modulators. He must pay a $200 fine from his purse along with $326 in prosecution fees, and he will be eligible to compete again after Sept. 3.
- T.J. Thomas, who competed in a slap fighting bout on March 9, suspended six months after testing positive for clomiphene, a hormone and metabolic modulator. He must pay a $50 fine from his purse and $285.25 in prosecution fees, and his win is overturned to a no-contest. He is eligible to compete again after Sept. 9
- Chris Thomas, who competed in a slap fighting bout on March 11, suspended for six months after testing positive for Buprenorphine, a narcotic and its metabolite norbuprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a medication used to treat opioid use disorder. Thomas must also pay a $1,000 fine along with $326 in prosecution fees and his win was overturned to a no-contest. He is eligible to compete again after Sept. 11
- Andrew Provost, who competed in a slap fighting bout on March 11, suspended six months after testing positive for Buprenorphine, a narcotic and it’s metabolite norbuprenorphine. He must pay a $500 fine along with $326 in prosecution fees and will be eligible to compete again after Sept. 11.
- Isaih Quinones, who competed in a slap fighting bout on March 11, suspended for 12 months after testing positive for 19-Norandrosterone, drostanolone, tamoxifen and boldenone, which are anabolic steroids, and an elevated testosterone level. He has to pay a $750 fine, another $495 fee for additional testing required and $326 in prosecution fees. He will be eligible to compete again after March 11, 2024.
- Frank Holland, who competed in a slap fighting bout on March 11, suspended six months after testing positive for phentermine, a stimulant that can be prescribed for weight loss. He has to pay a $500 fine along with $326 in prosecution fees and he’ll be eligible to compete again after Sept. 11.
Fans were left stunned when the president of UFC, Dana White, made the surprising choice to establish his own league. However, his decision was met with significant backlash following an incident where he was captured on camera slapping his wife at a New Year's Eve celebration.
The initial launch of Power Slap received a lukewarm reception, but within 24 hours, social media platforms were inundated with unsettling and disconcerting highlights from slap fighting matches, causing widespread concern.
The criticism aimed at White escalated further when Eric Spicely, a seasoned UFC veteran, disclosed that he was offered a mere $2,000 (£1,611) for participating in a Power Slap bout, intensifying the scrutiny surrounding the league.
After the suspensions were issued, Nevada Athletic Commission chairman Anthony Marnell voiced concerns about the sheer number of positive drug tests the sanctioning body has dealt with in recent months, particularly in May with nine fighters from the PFL and six more from Power Slap.
“This is a waste of time, state resources, as it’s degrading to the sport, and we had this thing really cleaned up, and now all of a sudden in the last two meetings, I’ve heard more drug cases than I’ve heard in two years,” Marnell stated. “It’s disappointing because that’s not where we were going.
“It’s not what the programs were designed to do, and we’re catching them, but they’re out of town, they’ve made their money, they could care less about the win-loss record, and they have to pay $1,200 if they ever want to come back here again, and half of those we never see that money anyway, they’re gone. This is not a good look for Nevada or for these promoters.”