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Stephen A. Smith responds to Conor McGregor’s apology request for ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone comments

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UFC Fight Night: VanZant v Ostovich Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith has no plans to apologize for his comments made about Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the wake of his loss at UFC 246.

Smith came under fire after he took aim at Cerrone following a 40-second TKO loss to Conor McGregor in the main event. The “First Take” host said he was “quite disgusted” by his performance, adding of “it look like he gave up” in a rant about the perennial contender’s performance.

That resulted in a back and forth exchange with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan. But Smith’s initial response has brought McGregor into the fray.

“The call you discuss here is A+,” McGregor wrote on Twitter. “I didn’t show enough. I’m not paid by the hour though. Joe’s comments however, come from you saying the opposition fighter quit. Broken nose/orbital bone say different. Fighting is vicious. Those who make the walk deserve full respect! Apologize.”

Smith took to Twitter to answer McGregor and justified the nature of his initial criticism of Cerrone and his performance on that night.

“Sir, much respect to the great Conor McGregor,” Smith wrote. “My recollection on what I said is “That’s the way it looked.” “Cowboy” Cerrone is a perennial top-10 fighter. Much respect to him for the lengthy career he has had. Wishing him nothing but the best. But I don’t think it’s unfair to say that more than 40-seconds was expected from as tough of an SOB as he is.

“Nor do I think it’s wrong to assume that there’s no way that’s 40-second fight would take place with you vs. [Khabib] Nurmegamedov or [Jorge] Masvidal. We expected more than what we got. Props to YOU for that. But to know how tough Cowboy is, lots of fans like myself expected more and I don’t think Joe Rogan is right to question my knowledge about a fight just because I wasn’t satisfied with what I saw. I said what I said and I meant it. It’s possible to do that and still have tremendous respect for you along with Joe Rogan. Both of you are fantastic for the UFC. I wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much without the both of you. I wish you both prosperity in the future. But we clearly disagree about “Cowboy’s performance on Jan.18.”

For his part, Cerrone hasn’t made a public statement regarding the fight with McGregor or Smith’s comments in the aftermath of the fight. During that 40-second barrage, Cerrone suffered a broken nose and a broken orbital bone.

Smith isn’t a regular part of ESPN’s UFC coverage, but he has appeared for some of the bigger fight cards, particularly when McGregor has been involved.