What ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith thinks of women in combat sports is of no concern to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. The way the former UFC strawweight champion sees it, women don’t need him on their side.
During a recent appearance on the “Black on the Air” podcast, Smith was asked about women taking on executive and leadership roles in men’s team sports. He started off his answer by directly stating his support before going off on a tangent about women trying to compete against men, specifically in boxing and MMA.
“Where I jump off the bandwagon is when they try to engage physically,” Smith said. “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.”
Those remarks garnered a strong reaction from the MMA community on social media, including from Jedrzejczyk, one half of the consensus 2020 “Fight of the Year” against Zhang Weili at UFC 248.
Jedrzejczyk had this to say Wednesday:
I appreciate your transparency @stephenasmith . Although I wish everyone at ESPN—and throughout the world—saw women’s sports in a positive light, I assure you that we women don’t need your support. #2020WorldMMAAwardsFightOfTheYear #NationalGirlsandWomenInSportsDay
— Joanna Jedrzejczyk (@joannamma) February 3, 2021
I appreciate your transparency @stephenasmith. Although I wish everyone at ESPN—and throughout the world—saw women’s sports in a positive light, I assure you that we women don’t need your support.
Jedrzejczyk wasn’t the only notable MMA figure to react to Smith’s comments. You can see other reactions below: