ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith has received a ton of hate from the MMA community over the last few days, catching flack from the likes of Joe Rogan, Conor McGregor, Josh Thomson, Din Thomas and others. In the opinion of UFC and Bellator analyst Chael Sonnen, however, the blowback Smith has received has been undue.
The reason for all of this criticism, to remind, are the comments Smith made at UFC 246, which were widely regarded as disrespectful to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
The way Sonnen sees it, however, Smith only did the MMA community a favor by lending his voice and notoriety to the UFC 246 broadcast.
“For Stephen A. to come out and commentate on this — which by the way, I’ll just share with you. The numbers go through the roof when Stephen A. comes to the microphone,” Sonnen explained on his YouTube channel (via Bloody Elbow). “So many times in MMA I keep hearing that ‘we want to be mainstream. Why aren’t we mainstream? Why aren’t we being shown the respect of mainstream?’
“When you have the most mainstream guy in the sport come and talk on the desk live at the venue about your sport — that by the way, he sat in the front row and observed as a fan — when he comes and does that, and then you reject it, do you really want to be mainstream?”
Sonnen went on to share his belief that Smith’s comments about Cowboy were misinterpreted.
“Don’t forget, anybody that thinks Stephen A. called Cowboy disgusting heard it wrong. It’s not what he said. He said he was disgusted for Cowboy, that Cowboy did not — Stephen’s analysis — step back, gain his wits… grab ahold of Conor, take a deep breath,” Sonnen said. “He’s right about that!
“So to act as though he’s not an MMA expert, he is not pretending he is! To act as though the analysis he gave as a viewer, who witnessed something — he’s right!” he added. “Nobody here was insulted. Somebody here was misinterpreted. That somebody is Stephen A. and many people owe him an apology.”
What do you think of these comments from Chael Sonnen? Does he make a good point, or is he merely playing devil’s advocate to generate some views? You be the judge.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/27/2020.This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM