Stephen A. Smith has answered back to UFC commentator Joe Rogan’s criticism regarding his post-fight analysis of Conor McGregor vs. Donald Cerrone.
Smith had gone on air and questioned Cerrone’s heart after the UFC veteran was defeated by McGregor in 40 seconds, before asking if we’d actually been able to learn anything from McGregor’s performance due to the rapid nature of proceedings.
Rogan subsequently went on his podcast to say that, while Smith’s aggressive shtick which borders on mocking the athletes he covers might be acceptable in other sports that Smith pundits over, mixed martial arts and fighters should be given more respect due to the very dangerous nature of fights.
Today, Smith took to his social media to respond to Rogan’s criticism, and defend his own position.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) January 26, 2020
“I don’t claim to be the aficionado you are or anybody else covering the sport. But excuse me? I have been a reporter for 25 years. I have covered sports on a variety of competitive levels regardless of what the sport is. That includes boxing and the UFC,” Smith said. “I don’t give a damn if I did it, it don’t take much to look at three shoulder shots to the nose that Conor McGregor gave Cowboy Cerrone, watching him fold inside of 20 seconds, knowing that he only got one strike off, and oh, by the way, that was blocked by Conor.
“It doesn’t take much to look at the fight and say, ‘Excuse me? I didn’t see enough’ to convince me that Conor, in a rematch against [Khabib] Nurmagomedov, that wouldn’t cut it. Or against [Jorge] Masvidal, that wouldn’t cut it. Because that’s what you judge greatness by. It’s not just the fight that they’re in; it’s about who they’re about to go against. What are we talking about here? We’re talking about Conor McGregor against one of those two guys potentially next. So you look at him and you say, ‘Excuse me, did I see enough after such a long layoff?’ Losing to Nurmagomedov and before that an exhibition boxing match against Floyd Mayweather, did you see enough?
“Hell no, we didn’t see enough. Nothing wrong with that. I stated that that night. I’ll state it again. I’ll state it next week, next month, next year. I stand by that. And I don’t think disagreeing with that position warrants the kind of criticism that came in my direction.”
In fairness to Smith, he didn’t seem to take the remarks from Rogan personally, but rather just maintained his own position was the correct one, and Rogan was the one analysing Cerrone’s performance incorrectly.
“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,” Smith said. “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 did not get the opportunity to show us enough. For us to believe Nurmagomedov or Masvidal, that’s something that could potentially happen to them. I didn’t see it, because ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, in his first pay-per-view match, folded. I respect him, but he folded like a cheap tent. Period. Bad night for him. Bad night. That’s all. And I stand by that. And I’m going to still stand by that. I’ll holler at you later. Joe Rogan, if you need me, you know where to find me.”