Following the UFC 246 main event which saw Conor McGregor defeat Donald Cerrone in a 40-second TKO, ESPN broadcaster Stephen A. Smith said he felt Cerrone’s performance was “atrocious.” That comment brought criticism from the likes of Joe Rogan, Jon Jones, and even McGregor himself.
After making it known that he wouldn’t be apologizing to anyone and being defended by others like Chael Sonnen and Nate Diaz, the ongoing feud between Smith and the MMA world seemed to quiet down — until now.
While in Las Vegas for Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury rematch, Smith was a guest on Sirius XM’s The Ak & Barak Show with special guest co-host Sway Calloway, and when he was asked about his controversial take, Smith didn’t hold back.
Before ripping back into Cerrone’s performance at UFC 246, Smith did admit that he’s still learning the sport.
“Fellas, I’m learning the sport,” Smith admitted. “Muay Thai, being in a rear-naked choke — I don’t know. I never said I knew. What I said was, I was at that fight. I know what the hell I saw for those 40 seconds. I’m not debating the sport. Like for example, there’s a whole bunch of cats that talk basketball, you think they know basketball like I know basketball? I’ve been covering the sport for 25 years. I got inside information all over the place. No, I’m an aficionado on basketball. I’m a reporter and spectator everywhere else.”
Smith would continue on to compare himself to his First Take co-host, Max Kellerman who is known for his boxing knowledge and broadcast skills, saying Kellerman can point out a lower ranked fighter, but Smith himself won’t know who they are until they reach the top.
“For example you might have somebody like my man Max Kellerman, you cover boxing,” Smith said. “Max could tell you who the 30th-ranked fighter in the world is. I don’t give a damn about him. I’ll see him when gets up to the top 10. I’m focusing on here cause I ain’t got time, I got to do all of this. I ain’t got time to watch the 30th-ranked fighter. You see what I’m saying? But if I did watch him fight, I know boxing enough to know what I saw.”
After giving his side of how he looks at boxing and MMA in his broadcasting role, Smith went back into giving his explanation on what he saw at UFC 246 between Conor McGregor and Donald Cerrone.
“So when you had cats coming at me, I’m sitting here ‘Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Wait a minute.’ I didn’t sit up there and say, I’m Joe Rogan and I’m breaking down the nuances of the sport,” Smith said. “I’m saying I saw Conor McGregor fight this dude for 40 seconds. I saw this dude get hit with three shoulder shrugs right to his nose. He backed up, had a chance to run away for a few seconds to gather himself, didn’t do it. Only did one side kick, which didn’t connect. Then got kicked in the side of his head by Conor McGregor, he goes down and out.”
“This is your 50th fight, dog,” Smith added. “You didn’t know how to back up and catch your breath? Then, oh — by the way — you went out in 40 seconds. Then we find out it’s your first pay-per-view fight. Oh, how man times we’ve seen brothers step in the ring and we go like this, ‘Bright lights might have been too much for them.’ But because it’s Cowboy Cerrone and it’s the MMA, suddenly I’m not allowed to say that? It’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous.”
No matter how those inside the sport have responded to Smith’s comments from earlier this year, it seems as if he will continue to stick by his words and thoughts on what he saw from Donald Cerrone.
What do you think of the continued comments from Stephen A. Smith?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 2/25/2020.