Dan Le Batard Show Photo Credit: DraftKings Network

UFC 297 is set to kick off on Saturday, headlined by UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland defending his title for the first time against surging middleweight contender Dricus Du Plessis. Unfortunately, this upcoming fight has taken a backseat to controversy stemming from a disgusting homophobic rant from Strickland on Wednesday, which the cast of the Dan Le Batard Show discussed on Thursday.

Dan Le Batard has certainly voiced his opinions on the UFC in the past, in particular speaking on how UFC President Dana White is using the promotion’s platform on ESPN as a “tool” to push whatever political agenda he so pleases.

For ESPN, being the exclusive platform of a promotion like the UFC certainly comes with its fair share of controversy given the NSFW nature of many press conferences that the UFC holds before fights.

Then there is Sean Strickland’s pre-fight press conference on Wednesday, which took things to an extremely uncomfortable level when he got into an argument with Alexander Lee of MMAFighting.com, spouting off on an anti-LQBTQ+ rant in the process.

Strickland’s comments were discussed by the cast of the Dan Le Batard Show on Thursday. Mike Ryan Ruiz, the executive producer and regular contributor of the show, condemned ESPN for their silence thus far about Strickland’s comments.

“That is bull**** that we allow that,” It’s bull****. We can ignore it, and we should. If there isn’t going to be impunitive measure, let’s move on. Let’s move the **** on.”

Dan Le Batard then weighed in on the matter, saying that there hasn’t been enough pressure on ESPN to make a statement about it just yet.

“There can’t be punitive measure, Mike, if the person in charge doesn’t feel anything in terms of pressure. There has to be outrage and the reaction to it. I understand that the reaction these days to the outrage is to simply say that you are being too sensitive. You want to cancel me. This isn’t freedom with you being outraged over every little thing.”

Ryan Ruiz then continued on to challenge ESPN to issue a statement about Strickland’s comments.

“He is wearing a T-shirt that says women go back in the kitchen. Like, what are we doing? We haven’t even touched on that. That’s hatred of 40 years ago we kinda got past. And now we are just rehashing that because there has been a change. It’s the same people who ask for politics to be kept out of sports. While being platformed, while being legitimized.

“I ask Jimmy Pitaro, what gonads are you going to show me in this instance? Because that pay-per-view is on ESPN+. You say nothing? While the UFC isn’t going to do anything about it, I would challenge ESPN to make a public statement on this. Because that kind of hate is going over their airways. You allow that regularly, but it has never been this vile. Disney is a family company, this is revolting. You have that guy’s last name on a pay-per-view. At the very least, condemn it.”

Thus far as Ryan Ruiz and Le Batard have alluded to, ESPN has yet to say a single thing about Strickland’s comments, which obviously isn’t the best look for the company as a whole.

Regardless, Strickland’s name will be on a huge stage when he takes on Du Plessis in his title fight on Saturday night.

[Dan Le Batard Show on Twitter/X]

About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.