Im not kidding... this shit is still going on! Stephen A Smith was on Ariels podcast today and its only on itunes and Spotify, so i cant embed. Im going to try to transcribe the best parts because its 20 minutes of talking - Ariel starts by shilling HARD for SAS by saying: Today we are having the face of ESPN on the show. He is the star of First Take, he appears almost 24 hours a day on this network, jack of all trades, tremendous guy, mench, has gone out of his way multiple times to make me feel welcome. A great team mate, a great colleague. Yes, stephen A himself. A man who needs no introduction, in my opinion he is the face of ESPN. He anchors this entire network and been doing a tremendous job for many many years. Now, to SAS quotes: - I was surprised by what Joe Rogan had to say. I certainly wasnt suprised by what the fans and critics said. I mean look... Im a polarizing figure, when i speak you're going to have people who agree with me and people who dont. Personally speaking i dont give a damn. I say what i say and i mean what i say. Ive been covering boxing and following boxing since i was 3 years old. There are people who agree and disagree with me on many topics in that realm. It comes with the territory. When it comes to MMA im no expert. I leave to you and Brett Okamoto, Chael Sonnen, Bisping and DC. People ive had the honor and priviledge of working with. I know that you guys are the experts. But to me i wasnt covering the UFC or the sport of MMA. I was covering that fight in particular. And i know what im watching. And so for me to look at Conor and see three shoulder shrugs... i mean obvioulsly he broke his nose, he beat up his face and what have you.... Joe Rogan said Conor showed a lot. And I respectfully disagree. Number one i dont believe there's so much you can show in 40 seconds. Number two what joe rogan doesnt know is i was speaking to you all week and you kept telling me how Cowboy folded when the bright lights come up. To look out for how Cowboy shrinked when the pressure was on him. So for me, i watched the fight and i was like "my god, all you got off was one kick that was blocked?? And thats it?". That shows me nothing thats gonna cut against Khabib or Masvidal. So to me, saying what i said is not anything sacrilegious. Its not a crime against the sport of MMA. As an observer, this is what i saw at 246. If you are the great Joe Rogan and you want to disagree with that, im ok with it. But to take it to the point where you said that for me to be there wasnt a good look and for ESPN that i was there.... i thought that was excessive and unnecessary. I have profound respect to him and i will continue to be nice to him. I have no animosity or whatever. To act like i didnt even belong in there because i have an opinion thats different than his, it was a bit extreme and unfair. I understand these guys are putting their lives literally on the line, so you have to be a little reluctant to address fighters in that way, but look at how im lookint at it Ariel. I saw Conor come out and throw a haymaker right off the bat, he missed him with that punch but the left thigh sort of caught Cerrone, then he hit him with the shoulder and that fine. But if you recall there was a little break where Cerrone steps away and im saying "You had 40 fights in your resume. You are experienced enough to know how to step back, gather yourself and get away from this onslaught". None of that happened. Then conor caught him with a kick and he went down. All of that happened in 20 seconds. A guy that experienced couldnt find a way to survive? But my personal opinion is that unless you get caught with a haymaker you're not senseless or something you should have had the ability to gather yourself and last a little longer. He had been KOed in his last two fights. All of that appeared to me that the guy was in over his head. The moments appeared too big for him and he didnt handle it. Now is that saying "he quit" isnt apropos. But i think its apropos to say he clearly appeared way in over his head. Theres levels to this and he did not appear to be on it. I dont think its criminal to say that. I did not apologise to Conor when he told me to on twitter. And im not going to. Because i meant what i said. I have profound respect for him. I love him. He is phenomenal. I think he is the number atraction in the sport. Even when he got beat against Khabib i gave him credit for surviving until the fourth round. If you tell me to apologise for using the word quit fine. But dont tell me that the guy wasnt in over his head and he didnt handle the pressure. Im not going to apologise for that. Conor, despite the 4 loses is elite. And one of the biggest reasons, even thought he tapped out a couple of times, is that he shows up in the big events. He is not going in there and beat himself. If you want to win against him you are going to have to go in there and literally do what, beat him. I dont think Conor asked me to apologise for what i said, but because of how Rogan reacted to it. Conor was protecting the sport. And what they need to come to the realisation is this, I am not you guys. Im not going to pretend to be an expert like them. Im new to this. But i do know fighting. I do know what im watching. And i am entitled to have a point of view based on what i saw. Im not gonna apologise one bit. I think they are protecting the sport but i got news for them: I am protecting the sport too, because i love it. And ive been blessed with the fact that when im a part of something people usually watch and i contribute to it in a positive way. I want to help the sport in my small way, not just the sport, but guys like Rogan and everybody else who cover and fighters like Conor who are in it. Im a big fan and im going to be here a long, long time. Im a personal friend of Dana White. But i feel the way that i feel and if i feel differently than somebody, they're gonna have to get over it. And i aint shy to say how i feel. I will not apologise or backtrack from my position. People like KOs. If Conor was wrestling and choking people out he wouldnt be as popular as he is. Americans like when people get put out. Like what conor and masvidal do. I dont want to steal anyones airtime. I get enough shine already. I just want to support a growing sport i think is worthy of our attention and thats what im going to continue to do, anytime ESPN wants me on it im happy to be there. Here's where Rogan is going to lose. If he expects there is ever going to be a bad word out of my mouth about him is not going to happen. I respect the hell out of him and what he means to the sport. My point is, regardless of what i know, im honest about what i dont know. And even if i did become an expert in the UFC, which as much as im watching these days, im rapidily getting there... Im never going to take anything away from you guys, who helped bring the sport to this level and now ESPN is trying to take it even further. I dont want to be seen as someone you would listen instead of Joe Rogan. My only regreat is, that at least for the moment, Joe Rogan didnt appreciate the fact that i have my own acomplishments in this industry. And just because i showed up to commentate on a fight and i disagreed with him, doesnt erradicate all that i've acomplished. All of that wasnt necessary. Thats all im saying. I have no hard feelings against him. He's a great guy, great for the UFC and im honored to have been ringside with him and i hope i can do it again. You saw how happy i was to be there talking with you Ariel, Bisping, Sonnen and these guys. They know how i feel about them. Ive been a fan for a while, i love the sport and im not going anywhere. I just wish people would appreciate the fact someone in the mainstream loves your sport enough to keep the eyes and the attention on it so everybody can prosper.