Stephen A. Smith On Women Fighting In The UFC: 'I Just Don't Like It'
Stephen A. Smith has landed himself in hot water with mixed martial arts fans after going off on a weird tangent about female fighters.
Appearing on the Black on the Air podcast, Stephen A. and host host Larry Wilmore discussed Kim Ng's recent appointment as general manager of the Miami Marlins.
Ng made history after she became the first female GM in Major League Baseball.
She wasn't the only woman to recently break into a male-dominated sport either with Becky Hamilton taking over as caretaker head coach of the San Antonio Spurs after Gregg Popovich was ejected during an NBA game.
Wilmore raised the topic with Stephen A, asking: "Are we going to see more of this? This is interesting to me. This is kind of all happening kind of at the same time. What is your take on that?"
But instead of giving a straight answer and praising these women for their incredible achievements, Stephen A. descended into a long-winded rant about female mixed martial artists - yep, we're not quite sure why either.
The ESPN talking head took a deep breath before giving his answer.
"First of all, I love it. I think that there's an awful lot of women that are incredibly qualified to do the jobs that they're doing," he said.
"Where I jump off the bandwagon is when 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'll kick a dude's butt. We get all that. When I think about pugilistic sports, I don't like seeing women involved in that at all. I just don't like it. 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, but that's just me. What I would adamantly be against is them fighting men. I don't think that's cool. Plus, you don't ever want to give men 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.
"And so, outside of that, when you think about them in executive positions, first of all they're smarter than (men) a lot of times, they're more composed than us a lot of times, they're incredibly knowledgeable about these respective sports. They've had to go through trials and tribulations one couldn't even imagine most of the time. For them to get to that point, they deserve the opportunity to showcase their skill sets. Just like we have women in corporate America doing an incredible job leading companies, being executives, pushing businesses forward, etc., etc. There's no reason on earth why they can't do the same in the sports world. I support it, I'm a fan of it, and I hope we see more of it."
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So he supports women taking up roles behind the scenes in sports franchises, but he doesn't want to see them competing?
Bizarre, very bizarre.
And this isn't the first time the outspoken First Take co-host has had MMA fans rolling their eyes.
Back in 2020, he left viewers fuming after publicly accusing of Donald Cerrone of "not wanting to be there" in his bout against Conor McGregor.
"I'm quite disgusted," he said during the post-fight coverage.
"Let me be very, very clear: I'm honoured to be up here with you guys. I'm a spectator watching the sport. I expected to see more than 40 seconds. I predicted McGregor was going to win this fight inside of two rounds. I thought he would take him out.
"Here's the deal: 15 seconds in, 'Cowboy' Cerrone was done. 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 didn't sit well with the MMA community, who immediately jumped to the defence of Cerrone - one of those figures being Joe Rogan.
UFC commentator Rogan lead the chorus of calls for Stephen A. to not analyse future UFC events.
And after his latest remarks, he hasn't exactly done himself any more favours.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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