Anthony “Lionheart” Smith returns to action on May 13, 2020, against Glover Teixeira in his first fight since submitting Alexander Gustafsson in June 2019. Well, he did technically have another fight since then: in early April, a clearly disturbed individual broke into Smith’s home in the middle of the night, forcing him into a desperate brawl as his wife and kids hid in an upstairs bedroom.
While I’d like to think most people were very sensitive to the traumatic nature of such a confrontation, the nature of the internet means we got to read a lot of dumbass takes from dumbass people on how Smith should have whupped the potentially drugged up assailant effortlessly, how he should have just choked him out bro, and other such nonsense. It’s one thing to see that on social media, but then UFC Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones jumped on the pile with some real tasteless tweets on the subject.
One month out from all the drama, Smith doesn’t seem as upset about Jones’ comments as he was the mixed martial arts (MMA) media jumping on those comments and serving it up as #content. He also revealed that if it was up to him, he’d never have said anything about the incident, but UFC convinced him to get ahead of the story since it would come out eventually (once again, damn media!!)
“I’m more disappointed that the media – I didn’t want to tell the story of what happened in my house, anyways,” Smith told MMA Junkie. “If it was up to me I wouldn’t have told anybody. But, I’m a public figure and it’s going to come out. If it’s going to come out I would rather have it be on my terms. The way that the UFC, and my lawyer, said that if it’s going to come out all over the God-damn world, then it might as well be coming out of my mouth as opposed to some media outlet with 27 followers writes some bulls**t 250-character write up on whatever bulls**t MMA site it is.”
.@lionheartasmith says he's still ready to fight on 4/25 even after he fought off an intruder at his home over the weekend. This is video for the suspect after he allegedly broke into another man's home before going to Smith's. Smith describes what happened.@3NewsNowOmaha pic.twitter.com/mGwSlTjimo— Jake Wasikowski (@jakewasikowski) April 9, 2020
“Then it would get twisted and construed then there’s police reports that are super short and one paragraph. I would rather it come out from the source. I’ll tell you what happened. Point A to Point B, that’s how we got there. I didn’t want to tell it to begin with.
“They took a story I didn’t want to tell anyway and took it from this disaster that happened in my house and turned it into Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith, which is exactly what Jon Jones wanted,” Smith continued. “That’s why he said something. It’s an opportunity for Jon to get in the media, he does it all the time. Any time Izzy fights, who do you hear from? Jon Jones. Whoever. Name your goddamn person. Anytime Jon can get some, he’s going to get some. I can’t believe the media was OK with Jon using this opportunity to get his in.”
Well, to be fair, I don’t know an outlet that sided with Jones in this particular “beef” ... everyone agrees there’s a line when it comes to smack talk subjects. And what happened to Smith and his family was by no means appropriate fodder for Twitter drive-bys. As usual, Jones tried to lean into his scumbag persona and took things too far. As usual, the MMA media covered it because hey, MMA’s presumptive GOAT being such an insensitive douchebag is still news, even if Jones being capable of going this low is well known to everyone in the sport.
But, I certainly sympathize with Smith over having to disclose the whole home invasion thing at all. Who wants to field questions and re-live that in interviews for months? Who wants it coming up in conversations all through fight week as Smith prepares to face Glover Teixeira next month in Florida? The danger to Smith’s family was very real and Smith had to deal with that not only in the moment but the foreseeable future in a very public manner. It doesn’t sound fun.