VIDEO: How Rumble uses “Power Slap” to bring Gen Z viewers into the right-wing fever swamp

What do QAnon conspiracy theory videos, white nationalist propaganda, and the nation’s only “slap fighting” show, Power Slap, have in common? They’re all found on Rumble, a right-wing YouTube knockoff that is a cesspool of extremism and bigotry.

Power Slap and the trend of “slap fighting” are viral on social media, notably on platforms that are favored by young users, like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. Power Slap’s decision to make its home on Rumble may have negative consequences for Gen Z and young UFC, MMA, and fighting fans, who will have to navigate a platform full of vitriol and disinformation to watch the show.

Rumble is the exclusive home of Power Slap. It's the only website where viewers can watch full episodes of the show, behind the scenes footage, and commentary. And fans are flocking to the website to watch the show — the Power Slap Rumble page currently has 155,000 subscribers.

This is part of Rumble’s strategy to bring Gen Z audiences to its platform: signing nonpolitical shows and creators who already have dedicated Gen Z fan bases. The platform has already nabbed plenty of creators to grab young viewers’ attention, including streamers, viral pranksters, podcasters, music commentators, gamers, and a skateboarding tour.

What is Power Slap?

Sports slapping pits two equal-weight competitors against each other. A contestant wins a slap fight round when their opponent is knocked out and cannot slap back or when they earn the most points after three rounds based on boxing and MMA point calculations. The competitor being slapped is not allowed to flinch before the slap is delivered, and both competitors must follow specific rules regarding hand-slap placement and timing. More detailed Power Slap rules can be found here

Trump sycophant and UFC President Dana White founded and produces Power Slap. White has been pictured with Trump and Donald Trump Jr. at  UFC events and has been featured as a guest on former Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show. 

The competition is sanctioned by the Nevada Athletic Commission to occur in Las Vegas. The show, which has featured celebrities, including actor Mark Wahlberg and Russian internet personality Hasbulla, aired on TBS until it was canceled after one season following criticism from members of Congress and medical professionals

Concussion Legacy Foundation CEO Chris Nowinski told The Associated Press that slap fighting is “one of the stupidest things you can do'' and described it as “a really stupid activity to try to make money.” And former Nevada State Athletic Commission Chairman Stephen Cloobeck, who helped sanction the sport in Las Vegas, said he “made a mistake” allowing the sport to be licensed in Nevada. 

Slap fighting has raised concerns over the possibility that it could cause neurological problems and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a serious brain disorder likely caused by repeat head injuries that can lead to dementia.   

What else is found on Rumble? 

It’s not surprising that Power Slap landed on Rumble, as fighting and mixed martial arts are extremely popular in far-right political circles, and Rumble is the exclusive home to the media projects of various far-right and viral figures. Rumble features podcasts and shows from commentators Steven Crowder, Trump Jr., Glenn Greenwald, and Dave Rubin, as well as various QAnon, extremist, and white nationalist influencers and media personalities. Several white nationalists, including Nick Fuentes, Stew Peters, and Vincent James Foxx, post their content on the platform.    

Parents may already be wary of a risky sport like slap fighting, but Power Slap’s arrival on a platform that could lead young Gen Z users down far-right rabbit holes adds an extra layer of danger to the online slap-fighting scene.