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Stephen A. Smith: Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson avoided grappling due to COVID-19 fears

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It’s another MMA hot take from Stephen A. Smith

Stephen A. Smith has made headlines in the MMA community yet again for another controversial take. This time, it’s because Smith thinks the fighters in the UFC 249 main event were “reluctant” to grapple due to the coronavirus.

Smith is referring to the fight between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje which headlined UFC 249 this past weekend. Gaethje stopped Ferguson in the fifth round after dominating the fight on the feet. Not once did the fight hit the mat, with both fighters willing to stand and trade for five-rounds.

ESPN analyst Smith thinks there was a reason for that though, as Ferguson and Gaethje didn’t want to contract the coronavirus.

“There was so much striking I was surprised there wasn’t a little bit more wrestling,” Smith said. “Then I remembered with the coronavirus pandemic coming on, in my mind my attitude is that guys were a bit reluctant to grapple as little as necessary.”

It’s not the first time (and probably not the last) Smith has caught the attention of the MMA world. After Donald Cerrone’s 40-second KO loss to Conor McGregor in January, Smith made headlines for saying he was ‘disgusted’ that Cerrone ‘gave up’ in the fight.