Popular ESPN pundit Stephen A. Smith drew the ire of the UFC community again after the famed American sports personality said he didn’t “want to see women fighting” in the UFC. Smith, of course, draws a paycheck from the UFC’s television partner in the United States, ESPN, so it’s probably not the kind of comment anyone over at either of those offices wanted to see from him.
According to MMA Fighting, Smith was talking to Larry Wilmore on the Black on the Air podcast when he was asked about more women being hired in sports positions that were previously reserved only for men. Smith was on board with that move but then started talking about his personal preference of not wanting to see women in UFC fights for some reason.
Per MMA Fighting:
First of all, I love it. I think there’s an awful lot of women who are incredibly qualified to do the jobs they’re doing. Where I jump off the bandwagon is where they try to engage physically. For example, I don’t ever want to see a woman boxing a man. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see a woman in the UFC fighting a man—even though there are some women out there that will kick the dude’s butt.
“When I think about pugilistic sports, I don’t like to see women involved in that at all. I just don’t like it. I wouldn’t pass, I wouldn’t promote legislating laws to prohibit them from doing so, but I don’t want to see women punching each other in the face. I don’t want to see women fighting in the octagon and stuff like that. That’s just me.
“I certainly, what I adamantly would be against is them fighting men. I don’t think that’s cool. I’m not a proponent of that. Plus you don’t ever want to give men a license to believe that it’s all right to be physical with a woman, to be quite honest with you. You don’t want to do that.”
Obviously, all that didn’t go well with most people in the MMA community.
Best Reactions to Smith
Bellator MMA women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg posted, “Cmon SON!”
— 🇧🇷 @CrisCyborg.Com 🇺🇸 (@criscyborg) February 2, 2021
Meanwhile, MMA Roasted wondered whether Smith was just “jealous” of female UFC fighters because of their better punching form.
He is jealous because they can correctly throw a punch. https://t.co/luIaHzrvAB
— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) February 2, 2021
UFC women’s strawweight contender Angela Hill didn’t like what she saw either. Hill channeled UFC women’s strawweight champ, Weili Zhang, for her response.
“Shut up.” – Weili Zhang https://t.co/xhbCMTk4KH
— Angela Hill (@AngieOverkill) February 2, 2021
Obviously, the lowest hanging comedic fruit for just about everybody on the Internet was finding and reposting old clips of Smith attempting to hit the mitts.
Still, for many, that fruit was also the one that tasted the sweetest after seeing Smith’s most recent comments.
Believe me Mr Stephen A Smith, we like watching you hit pads just about as much as you like watching women fight in the cage. 😂 pic.twitter.com/50yTGbXXlm
— MacMally🍀 (@MacMallyMMA) February 2, 2021
Veteran welterweight contender Tim Means posted, “I don’t ever want to see Stephen A. Smith hit mitts again. I know women that would hurt this dude.”
I don’t ever want to see Stephen A. Smith hit mitts again. I know women that would hurt this dude. https://t.co/2pM5QnWc4y
— tim means (@MeansTim) February 2, 2021
Smith’s Latest Comments Shouldn’t Surprise Anyone
Look, Smith makes his living off of saying controversial things on a regular basis, so it’s hardly a surprise here that he said something that made so many UFC fans upset.
Smith’s past run-ins with the MMA community included drawing heat from the likes of UFC superstar Conor McGregor and UFC commentator Joe Rogan, so Smith’s latest comments aren’t really that surprising.
Moreover, Smith is entitled to his opinion.
Still, by that same measure, other people are just as entitled to express themselves, too.
And just about everyone else, at least within the MMA community on social media, seems to vehemently disagree with Smith’s lastest hot take about women in the UFC.
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