Stephen A. Smith: Ferguson And Gaethje Were ‘Reluctant To Grapple’ Due To COVID-19

Stephen A. Smith
Images via Twitter @biggest_charm & Instagram @ufc

Stephen A. Smith Explains Why Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje Didn’t Grapple

Stephen A. Smith does not have the best reputation inside the MMA bubble. He added to that legacy again, with some bold proclamations after UFC 249.

As far as the majority of the sports world is concerned, Smith is a valuable asset. He serves ESPN well as an analyst, covering all kinds of sports. Since the UFC inked a deal with the broadcast company, he has been seen a lot more often outside the UFC Octagon, giving his thoughts on fights.

Unfortunately Stephen A Smith has not been welcomed with open arms by the community. He missed the mark big time, particularly following the Conor McGregor vs Donald Cerrone bout. Then he tried walking back those comments, defending them in ways that do not hold up to scrutiny.

Smith seems to have made similar mistakes again. Following UFC 246’s main event, a stand up war between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje, he was baffled by why neither of these fighters with grappling backgrounds chose to engage in any real grappling exchanges. However, as this video shows, he managed to wrack his brain and come up with an explanation that was a little bit odd to say the least.

“It was so much striking, I was surprised there wasn’t a little bit more wrestling and what have you. THEN I remember with the coronavirus pandemic coming on and in my mind, my attitude is that guys were a bit reluctant to grapple unless necessary.”

On the surface it is not necessarily a bad call for Smith to suggest that these two fighters were concerned about the global health crisis, heading into their fight. However when you think about the safety protocols in place, for whatever those are worth, and the fact that, scientifically speaking, the fighters can transmit germs the same way striking as grappling, it really does not hold much weight.

What do you think of these recent comments from Stephen A Smith?

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