ESPN commentator and renowned sports personality Stephen A. Smith came under fire from the MMA community after he accused Donald Cerrone of not showing up for the Conor McGregor fight and putting on an ‘atrocious performance’ in the UFC 246 main event earlier this year.
“Here’s the deal: 15 seconds in, ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone was done,” Smith said following McGregor’s 40-second TKO victory over Cerrone . “He got hit with those shoulders in the clinch, and he was done. It looked like he gave up. It was just an atrocious performance on his part.
“You know the difference between a fighter that’s calm, cool, collected, and ready for the pressure, and it’s out-weighed by somebody that’s clearly in over their head. When you look at ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone, that was not a guy that was prepared to fight tonight.”
The NBA analyst faced criticism from the likes of Conor McGregor and Joe Rogan, but it appears Smith got the last laugh, as Cerrone recently admitted that his head wasn’t in the right place and he ‘just wasn’t feeling it’ on the night.
“Donald showed up, Cowboy wasn’t there,” Cerrone said (h/t BJPenn.com). “The wrong guy showed up, couldn’t get going, couldn’t get excited, couldn’t get fired up, didn’t want to be there. Biggest fight, all the attention, my time to shine, I didn’t want to be there. S**t, it was crazy man. I don’t know why, I don’t how, I don’t know how to change that, but it sucks man.
“Sometimes I show up there and I’m f***ing ready, I’m fired up and I’m ready to go, sometimes I get there and I’m like ‘I don’t even want to be here,’” Cerrone added, confirm the suspicions Smith put forth. “So, don’t know, no idea, wish I had the answer. Two days before the fight I was f***ing like, it was just hard. When I showed up there that morning, it was like ‘Man, f**k’ I just wasn’t feeling it.”
Smith responded via Twitter, telling MMA fans not to be so dismissive of sports analysts from outside the MMA bubble.
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??? 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,” Smith tweeted on Wednesday.
Cerrone will return to the cage against Anthony Pettis at UFC 249. The highly anticipated pay-per-view will take place next month, May 9, at the VyState Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.