Rogan Takes Issue With Smith
ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith made a lot of headlines following his comments against Donald Cerrone last weekend.
Cerrone suffered a quick 40-second TKO defeat to Conor McGregor at UFC 246 with Smith unloading on him in the post-fight show. Among the things, he stated that he was shocked and disappointed by the way the fight played out, that Cerrone didn’t show up and that he gave up quickly.
That didn’t go down well with many MMA fans or fighters and Joe Rogan — who was with Smith during these rants — felt it would have been better if someone with more knowledge of the sport was speaking on the matter.
“(Daniel Cormier) and I would’ve had a completely different conversation and it would’ve been better for the sport,” Rogan said on his podcast (via MMA Junkie). “There’s no positive in downplaying the career of Donald Cerrone and what he can do as a fighter. What that showed to me is how phenomenal Conor performed. That’s what it showed to me. If either you or I was talking about cricket, and we were on TV doing commentary on cricket, we would look out of place. It would be (expletive) up and real cricket fans would be upset at us. That’s nothing. You are naked in the most literal sense of the word (in MMA). Physically, you are naked. Emotionally, when fighters lose, it’s (expletive) devastating.
“For Conor to smash ‘Cowboy’ like that in front of his wife, his kid, his grandma and the whole world. You’ve got to have some respect for that man, and this sport demands a different perspective. It’s not the same thing as a ball going into a hoop. It’s not the same thing as crossing a line with a football. It’s different. It’s very intense and very personal, and it’s also very (expletive) dangerous and to play it off like it’s just a game, I don’t agree with it.”
Rogan did mention that he respects Smith and understands the appeal in having a personality like him comment on huge fights. However, his controversial takes don’t work in the same way in MMA as it does with other sports.
In the end, Rogan would have preferred to have reflected on the fight with someone who knew about MMA first-hand.
“I would’ve preferred to talk to ‘DC’ or Felder or you (Josh Thomson) or anybody who understands the sport,” Rogan added. “I don’t think it’s the right way to do it. … I have no problem with (Smith) as a human being.
“Look, I don’t know jack (expletive) about baseball, I don’t know jack (expletive) about basketball. I literally don’t even know the rules. When people foul people, I’m not sure why. I’m not sure what’s happening. I know MMA. I understand. So, if you want to talk about MMA, I’d like to talk about it with someone else who knows about MMA.”
Maybe something for ESPN to consider going forward.