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U.S. Congressman questions Dana White’s Power Slap, sends letter to Warner Bros. CEO: ‘Traumatic brain injury isn’t entertainment’

MMA: JAN 11 UFC Vegas 67 Media Day - Dana White
Dana White
Photo by Amy Kaplan/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One of the most controversial stories in combat sports this year has been the creation of Dana White’s Power Slap league and the UFC’s continuous promotion of it. And now the United States Congress is getting involved.

On Wednesday, New Jersey’s Ninth District Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. revealed that he and Nebraska’s Second District Representative Don Bacon reached out to both TBS and Warner Bros. Discovery to discuss their involvement in “Power Slap,” decrying the program’s “mindless violence.”

Pascrell included in his post their letter to David Zaslav, the President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, and Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel, noting his issues with Power Slap. The congressmen stated that the new league “capitalizes on violent behavior and lurid drama masquerading as athletic prowess for profit,” and noted that participants “are offered a paltry $2,000” for “endangering their mental and physical health.”

They also noted the apparent lack of safety protocols surrounding the events, and requested that Zaslav answer questions regarding disclaimers, long-term healthcare, and disclosures to the participants about the inherent safety risks.

Pascrell is one of the longest serving active members of congress, having assumed office in 1997, and currently serves on the Committee on Ways and Means as the Chairman of the Oversight Subcommittee. During his Congressional tenure, Pascrell has been outspoken on matters of brain health, co-founding the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force in 2001, which “works to increase awareness of brain injury in the United States,” per his website.

In 2008, Pascrell introduced the Concussion Treatment and Cares Tools Act, which was endorsed by the NFL and the NFLPA as a means of creating guidelines for concussion protocol enactment in middle schools and high schools. In 2013, he introduced the Traumatic Brain Injury Reauthorization Act of 2013, again with the intent of combating traumatic brain injury.

You can read the letter in full below.

White recently defended his new league from criticisms over health and safety in an interview with The Jim Rome Show.

“First of all, there’s nobody bigger on health and safety than me,” White said.

“Even if you can defend yourself, in boxing guys take 400 to 600 punches per fight. These guys take three slaps or less during an event. ... So you’re talking about the wrong sport here.”

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