You may remember in January 2020 that Stephen A Smith and Joe Rogan got into a little spat over MMA. Stephen A, a known boxing fan, was thrown into the MMA scene once ESPN bought the rights to broadcast UFC...just years after this boxing vs. UFC segment on SportsCenter with Joe Rogan.
Stephen A. was included in the UFC coverage at first, something I disagreed with because he clearly didn't like the sport or know much about it. You know that meme where Stephen A looks like he is contemplating the meaning of his life? That came while he was on a UFC call for ESPN:
Fast forward to this week where Stephen A Smith made it clear that he doesn't like the fact that there are women fighting in the UFC and other organizations?
I'd say I'm a big fan of Stephen A. He is incredibly entertaining and very good at his job. All that being said, this take is bad….very, very bad. As someone who has found himself very into MMA over the past 2 years, disregarding women's MMA as something that shouldn't happen is just a shitty take, along with not being true. It's not hard to disprove Stephen A. Smith's point either. Women's MMA isn't some sorority house pillow fight. The consensus best fight of 2020 in the UFC was a women's fight.
I'm sure Stephen A. will apologize or whatever. Put out a statement and we'll all forget about this. It's a shame that this was said for a multitude of reasons, but it further shows how UFC doesn't get enough credit for how much they have done for women's sports. No other sport has integrated its male and female divisions like the UFC has. They have PPV's with women's main events. They only have 10 of those a year! The NBA does a great job promoting the WNBA, but would they give a conference finals TV slot to the WNBA? Of course not. They'd laugh at that even be suggested.
UFC giving their women's division top slots isn't just for show. The stars that have developed from that spotlight cannot be ignored. Before McGregor, Ronda Rousey was the most well known UFC fighter in America. Amanda Nunes may be the most dominant female athlete in the history of sports outside of (maybe) Serena? All that being said, on Wednesday, which was national girls and women in sports day, there wasn't a mention of Nunes during the SportsCenter segment I was watching. I shouldn't be surprised after their highest-paid employee gave us a 20th-century "women shouldn't be fighting!" take.