UFC reporter Megan Olivi has revealed her hurt at being overlooked by fellow broadcaster Stephen A. Smith earlier this year.
After UFC 260 in late March, the ESPN mouthpiece sent out a tweet in tribute to the talents of the MMA championship’s punditry team, but notably missed Olivi out.
“Ummm hey there – you’re forgetting someone,” she butted in, with a reply that received close to 4,000 likes.
Yet again Smith failed to acknowledge her.
At a Q&A session after the UFC 261 weigh-ins on Friday, Olivi was broached on topic by reporters and admitted: “That was actually tough for me”.
“I don’t love social media in general, but then to play such a big role in terms of pre and post-fight interviews, like, I’m the one onsite doing them…”
“Then to do all the hits on the broadcast and be a part of this team and literally the only women on the pay-per-view team – there’s no other desk host, there’s no one on the pre- or post-show. It’s literally just me.
“And I’ve worked to be here. I wasn’t handed this. It’s been a very long journey, as people who have seen me 10 years ago I’m sure can attest to. I’ve done everything the right way to get here, and to not get the acknowledgement as my male colleagues got, I genuinely was so hurt,” she confessed, even though it was “nice” to see colleagues and fans defend her honor.
But despite outlining that the treatment is something “the women in this room have dealt”, the American doesn’t believe it is something Smith, who has often fallen foul of the women in the MMA community, did intentionally.
“I don’t think he did it on purpose. I don’t think there was any intent,” Olivi stressed, before then seeming to doubt Smith’s knowledge of the sport.
“I don’t think he was trying to be rude by any means. I just think it didn’t really matter to him. I don’t know how much he actually watched. I know he’s supposed to be an MMA insider and he does his best, but he has a lot on his plate, as well.”
“I also wonder if he was helped with the tweet, if maybe it was just, ‘OK, here are the people on the broadcast’,” Olivi pondered.
“It would be nice if he was like one day like, ‘Oh sh*t,’ I didn’t see this. But I don’t think that’s the character we’re dealing with,” she concluded.
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As mentioned, this is not Smith’s first rodeo when it comes to ticking off females in Olivi’s profession.
A couple of months ago, the presenter paid $ 8 million per year for his thoughts said he just didn’t “want to see women punching each other in the face” in combat sports.
“I think that there’s an awful lot of women who are incredibly qualified to do the jobs they’re doing,” continued Smith’s outburst on Larry Wilmore’s ‘Black on the Air’ podcast.
“Where I jump off the bandwagon is where they try to engage physically.
“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 will kick the dude’s butt.”
As he ranted further, however, it became clear that Smith’s issue was with women fighting full stop, and not just against men.
“When I think about pugilistic sports, I don’t like seeing women involved in that at all,” Smith said.
“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.
“That’s just me,” he signed off.
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