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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I don’t want to see women fighting in the Octagon’

2011 Dana White, is that you?

Dallas Mavericks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Remember 2011 Dana White? He’s that prehistoric figure who once told TMZ that we’ll never see women fighting in the UFC Octagon.

Obviously, that man is long gone now. But a part of him had seemingly reincarnated in the form of Stephen A. Smith.

Over the weekend, ESPN’s king of hot takes went on as a guest on Larry Whitmore’s Black on the Air podcast. The topic at hand was about women who are now taking on leadership roles that were once limited to men.

Relating it with sports, Whitmore brought up San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon as an example. Hammon became the first woman to coach an NBA team when Gregg Popovich was ejected during the Spurs’ December game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

When asked if he expects to see more of this trend, Smith somehow found a way to connect it with his dislike towards seeing women in combat sports.

“First of all, I love it. I think there’s an awful lot of women who are incredibly qualified to do the jobs they’re doing,” Smith said (transcript by MMA Fighting). “Where I jump off the bandwagon is where they try to engage physically. For example, I don’t ever want to see a woman boxing a man. I don’t want to see that. I don’t want to see a woman in the UFC fighting a man—even though there are some women out there that will kick the dude’s butt.

“When I think about pugilistic sports, I don’t like to see women involved in that at all. I just don’t like it. I wouldn’t pass, I wouldn’t promote legislating laws to prohibit them from doing so, but I don’t want to see women punching each other in the face. I don’t want to see women fighting in the octagon and stuff like that. That’s just me.”

“I certainly, what I adamantly would be against is them fighting men. I don’t think that’s cool. I’m not a proponent of that. Plus you don’t ever want to give men a license to believe that it’s all right to be physical with a woman, to be quite honest with you. You don’t want to do that.”

Outside of Russia, the chances of high-profile promotions matching up a woman against a man are slim to none. And lest we forget, some of the most memorable, edge-of-your-seat battles were between two elite female fighters leaving it all on the line for our entertainment.

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