Skip Bayless has some thoughts.
If you’ve ever had a water cooler or barbershop conversation or been around one regarding sports, chances are Bayless and his penchant for hot takes has come up at least once.
Morning sports debate shows rose to an unpredictable level of popularity largely due to Bayless and his time on ESPN. Now that he’s on Fox Sports 1 (FS1), he’s working a similar model with former NFL star Shannon Sharpe on their morning show “Undisputed.” Attempting to replicate the model used at ESPN, the morning show brings up various topics within the sports world and have a head to head on live television on weekday mornings.
Given that the UFC has a very close partnership with FS1, there has been more MMA talk on other shows on the network that aren’t UFC-branded shows like UFC Tonight. This has led to a series of events in which people not used to covering MMA at all are suddenly having discussions regarding the sport, often to less-than-optimal results. For example, Colin Cowherd raised some eyebrows a while back due to a perceived lack of understanding of MMA, conflating the UFC with the sport overall. A more egregious example came in the form of Bayless’ new partner Sharpe boldly claiming Nate Diaz can’t make the 155lb limit to fight at lightweight.
Well, today we have Bayless at it again, this time being the one that comes across as least informed. In a segment discussing the upcoming Floyd Mayweather/Conor McGregor fight, he ended up making some bizarre comments that give the appearance of someone that may not even be watching the fights he’s discussing at all. But still, he has thoughts.
The segment starts with Shannon Sharpe laying out the case for Floyd Mayweather even taking this fight to begin with, claiming Mayweather would not have come out of retirement if he thought he had a chance to lose. Sharpe derided Mayweather’s recent comments about his own age being a factor and the possibility of losing, pointing out that this is a transparent effort to sell the fight with a false element of vulnerability.
Furthermore, he adds that this is the fight that Floyd would take to rake in a massive payday while breaking Rocky Marciano’s 49-0 record in the process. Sharpe ends his initial statements claiming he would bet on Mayweather to “beat the brakes off“ the UFC lightweight champion. It’s a rational set of claims and points that Sharpe succinctly puts on the table, but Bayless’ response and follow-up arguments make for some truly confusing television if you are an informed MMA fan.
Bayless: The first mistake you made is that Conor McGregor doesn’t have any brakes on him. There are no brakes on that guy.
Sharpe: Oh yeah, he does.
Bayless: He’s got no edit button, no brakes…
Sharpe: Well he should’ve, what happened with… how did he stop when Nate Diaz got him?
Sharpe: First fight against Nate Diaz…
Bayless: Speaking of fighting a bigger man…
Bayless: A guy that outweighed him by, I’m gonna guess 40 pounds? And had, what? 5 inches of reach on him and got him on the ground – It’s called wrestling, Sumo-style wrestling. He just pinned ‘im. He pinned ‘im.
Sharpe: How’d he get him on the ground? He put them things on him first to knock him down, and then jumped on him.
Bayless: He didn’t, he didn’t knock him down. He got a hold of him and dragged him to the ground.
Sharpe: (pointedly) Yeah.
Bayless: This is MMA fighting… UFC, all of a sudden, Conor gets to do what Conor has done very best – what he did against Nate Diaz the second time around when he said “I want him soon. I want him now.“ When obviously Dana White is saying “You can’t do this, it’s too quick to fight him.“ He (McGregor) said “No, I want him now.“ And he got him now, because he stood up in the octagon the whole fight and he punched him into submission. Just the way he’ll punch Floyd…
Sharpe: He didn’t punch him into submission…
Bayless: Yes he did.
Sharpe: (loudly) He won a split decision, Skip!! It wasn’t unanimous!! I mean, a majority decision.
Bayless: It was convincing… He outboxed Nate Diaz – a much bigger, much longer man, and he rrrrocked him. And knocked him down. Numerous times.
Sharpe: (sarcastically) He outboxed a guy that doesn’t box by profession. OK.
Bayless: Much bigger man…
Sharpe: (shouts) WHAT THAT GOT TO DO WITH THIS, SKIP?
From there, Bayless circles back around to discussing Mayweather and the conversation goes on hitting the usual morning debate show notes.
Perhaps being this wrong about so much on live television may not matter to the average FS1 viewer, who may not even watch or care about MMA at all. Then again, this is a set of fights between McGregor and Diaz that happened last year. Fights that were pretty big and gained a ton of mainstream attention, particularly the rematch. Maybe with time we’ll see MMA/UFC-related content treated with a bit more accuracy and tact, much like Sharpe’s more informed approach this time. But we still have people like Bayless.
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