Stephen A. Smith will not apologize over his harsh comments to Donald Cerrone’s performance at UFC 246.
The mixed martial arts veteran was defeated by Conor McGregor in 40 seconds in a welterweight clash last week, much to the dismay of the sports journalist, who was part of the ESPN’s post-UFC 246 broadcast panel.
“Here’s the deal: 15 seconds in, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone is done,” Smith said.
“He got hit with those shoulders in the clinch, and he was done. It looked like he gave up. It was just an atrocious performance on his part.”
These comments drew the ire of MMA fans in social media, saying Smith does not have the right to say bad things about Cerrone’s game.
Even UFC color commentator, Joe Rogan, was not pleased with Smith’s choice of words.
“Someone needs to explain to me what’s happening here. It looks like he’s punching a baby,” Rogan said in a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.
“This guy should not be allowed to talk about fighting.”
The 52-year old host has taken to social media to defend himself amid the backlash.
In a video posted in Twitter, Smith insisted he has the credentials to discuss things related to any sport.
“Mad respect to Joe Rogan. Nothing but respect for the man and the tremendous work that he has done and will continue to do throughout the years and for years to come.”
“But you’re wrong on this one my man.”
“You have your right, just like I have my right to respond, as I’m doing right now.”
“But any time you want to talk to me about this fight, or you want to talk to me about my credentials to discuss something in the world of sports, name the time and place, Joe Rogan, and I’ll show up.”
“It’s not a problem. It’s not a problem at all.”
“You don’t know me, so I’m not going to knock you for speaking out the way you spoke out without calling me.”
“I don’t care about all that. I respect where you’re coming from. You’re just wrong on this particular one, and I’m telling you you’re wrong.”
Conor McGregor quickly chimed in and asked Smith to apologize for saying Cerrone quit in the UFC 246 main event fight.
“The call you discuss here is A+. I didn’t show enough. I’m not paid by the hour though. Joe’s comments however, come from you saying the opposition fighter quit. Broken nose/orbital bone say different.”
“Fighting is vicious. Those who make the walk deserve full respect! Apologize,” The Notorious one wrote.
It didn’t take long for Smith to give these following responses:
“Sir, much respect to the great @TheNotoriousMMA. My recollection on what I said is “That’s the way it looked.” Cowboy Cerrone is a perennial top-10 fighter. Much respect to him for the lengthy career he has had.”
“Wishing him nothing but the best. But I don’t think it’s unfair to say that more than 40-seconds was expected from as tough of an SOB as he is, Conor McGregor.”
“Nor do I think it’s wrong to assume that there’s no way that’s 40-second fight would take place w/ you vs Nurmagomedov or Masvidal. We expected more than what we got. Props to YOU for that.”
“But to know how tough Cowboy is, lots of fans like myself expected more and I don’t think @joerogan is right to question my knowledge about a fight just because I wasn’t satisfied with what I saw. I said what I said and I meant it.”
“It’s possible to do that and still have tremendous respect for you Conor McGregor, along with @joerogan.”
“Both of you are fantastic for the @UFC. I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much without the both of you. I wish you both prosperity in the future.”
“But we clearly disagree about Cowboy’s performance on Jan.18. #RESPECT.”
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Conor McGregor and Stephen A Smith and YouTube/ The Joe Rogan Experience)