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Stephen A. Smith doesn’t want women fighting in UFC — ‘I just don’t like it’

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Longtime ESPN mouthpiece Stephen A. Smith is no stranger to controversial takes and has already drawn the ire of several UFC fighters. Now, whatever MMA fans he has left are likely to abandon ship after Smith declared his dissatisfaction with female fighting.

But hey, at least he doesn’t think it should be outlawed!

“When I think about pugilistic sports, I don’t like seeing women involved in that at all,” Smith said during “Black on the Air” podcast (transcribed by MMA Junkie). “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.”

I guess he missed this five-round banger at UFC 248.

Smith isn’t the first high-profile sports personality to shy away from female fighting. Former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko once shared his disdain for women’s combat and even UFC golden boy Georges St-Pierre had to answer for these comments.

At least UFC President Dana White (eventually) came around.