27 Feb, 2020

Stephen A. Smith fires back at Joe Rogan's UFC analyst criticism: 'I'm telling you you're wrong'

Stephen A. Smith’s family business got done, and his response video to Joe Rogan was released Saturday.

One day after Rogan criticized Smith’s post-UFC 246 comments on Donald Cerrone in which Smith labeled Cerrone a “quitter” for his 40-second TKO loss to Conor McGregor, the ESPN personality fired back at the long-time UFC commentator.

After initially teasing a reply in response to graphic posted by MMA Junkie on Saturday afternoon, Smith fired back in a than three-minute video on Twitter, defending his initial take and challenging Rogan to get into a deeper discussion about sports and MMA.

“You have your right, just like I have my right to respond, as I’m doing right now,” Smith said in the message directed at Rogan. “But any time you want to talk to me about this fight, or you want to talk to me about my credentials to discuss something in the world of sports, name the time and place, Joe Rogan, and I’ll show up. It’s not a problem. It’s not a problem at all.

“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. I respect where you’re coming from. You’re just wrong on this particular one, and I’m telling you you’re wrong.”

Check out the video (and full transcription) of Smith’s response below:

“Mad respect to Joe Rogan. Nothing but respect for the man and everything he’s done and will continue to do throughout the years and for years to come, but you’re wrong on this one, my man. Me, Stephen A. Smith. Me, being at the Conor McGregor fight, saying what I said that he didn’t show us much in 40 seconds. That warrants, ‘It’s not good for the sport. It’s not good for me. It’s not good for ESPN?’ First of all, as it pertains to ESPN, check the numbers, the subscribers to ESPN+, the level of attention that it got, the traffic that it generated in digital and beyond. Check the numbers, No. 1. That’s not because of me, that’s because of you. Because of Ariel (Helwani), because of Chael (Sonnen), because of Michael Bisping, and everybody else associated with it. Check the numbers, No. 1. Not good for the sport? I think that’s good for the sport.

“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. 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.

“Having said that, you’re entitled. You have your right, just like I have my right to respond, as I’m doing right now. But any time you want to talk to me about this fight, or you want to talk to me about my credentials to discuss something in the world of sports, name the time and place, Joe Rogan, and I’ll show up. It’s not a problem. It’s not a problem at all. 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. 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.”

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