What does ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith think of women in combat sports?
Well before that question gets answered by him, let’s look back 24 years ago. The first recorded women’s MMA fight took place in the U.S. and it’s been more than 11 years since Cris Cyborg and Gina Carano elevated women’s MMA. Eight years later, UFC vet Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche made history as the first women to compete in the UFC.
In the latest episode of the “Black on the Air” podcast, a conversation stirred up about women and sports between host Larry Wilmore and Stephen A. Smith. The conversation starts at the -15:60 mark.
Wilmore asked the question on the show: “Are we going to see more of this? This is interesting to me. This is kind of all happening kind of at the same time. What is your take on that?” Now, Wilmore’s question was about women working in leadership and executive roles in men’s team sports. The question he asked Smith had nothing to do with women in Boxing or women in MMA.
Stephen A Smith answers the question: “First of all, I love it. I think that there’s an awful lot of women that are incredibly qualified to do the jobs that they’re doing. Where I jump off the bandwagon is when 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’ll kick a dude’s butt. We get all that. When I think about pugilistic sports, I don’t like seeing women involved in that at all. I just don’t like it. 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, but that’s just me. What I would adamantly be against is them fighting men. I don’t think that’s cool. Plus, you don’t ever want to give men 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. And so, outside of that, when you think about them in executive positions, first of all, they’re smarter than (men) a lot of times, they’re more composed than us a lot of times, they’re incredibly knowledgeable about these respective sports. They’ve had to go through trials and tribulations one couldn’t even imagine most of the time. For them to get to that point, they deserve the opportunity to showcase their skill sets. Just like we have women in corporate America doing an incredible job leading companies, being executives, pushing businesses forward, etc., etc. There’s no reason on earth why they can’t do the same in the sports world. I support it, I’m a fan of it, and I hope we see more of it.”
UFC fighter Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson and her husband Joshua Gomez gave their opinion on this subject as seen below on Michelle’s IG:
Other female fighters and TV personalities had this to say on their Twitter feed: