Stephen A. Smith is feeling vindicated after butting heads with the MMA world four months ago.
The infamous ESPN pundit made waves in January when he reacted to Donald Cerrone’s 40-second loss to Conor McGregor at UFC 246 by stating he was “disgusted” with Cerrone’s performance. Smith’s comments sparked a weeks-long debate involving him, Joe Rogan, and fighters like Paul Felder and Nate Diaz, among several other media personalities, with opinions on both sides of the fence regarding the fairness of Smith’s analysis.
“Cowboy” recently made the media rounds to give his take on the McGregor fight and admitted that he wasn’t on top of his game on fight night. That self-evaluation prompted Smith to respond with a tone of vindication on Twitter.
I’m, so all you MMA folks — who I profoundly respect — am I off my rocker now??? When you’ve covered sports intimately as a reporter for a quarter-century, you see things sometimes. I respect the hell out of @Cowboycerrone, but he just wasn’t there that night.
— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) April 29, 2020
“So all you MMA folks — who I profoundly respect — am I off my rocker now???” Smith wrote. “When you’ve covered sports intimately as a reporter for a quarter-century, you see things sometimes. I respect the hell out of [Cerrone], but he just wasn’t there that night.”
Cerrone has been competing in MMA since 2006 and holds multiple records in the UFC, including most wins, most finishes, and most octagon appearances. At the moment, he is mired in a three-fight skid, just the second losing streak of his career.
Ahead of his upcoming rematch with Anthony Pettis at UFC 249, Cerrone told MMA Fighting that his “heart is still hurt” from the loss to McGregor.