Mike Ryan Ruiz, the sports pundit best known for formerly serving as the executive producer of “The Dan Le Batard Show” podcast and radio show, challenged ESPN to issue a public statement following UFC middleweight champion Sean Strickland’s recent inflammatory comments against the LGBTQ+ community. Strickland specifically attacked the existence of trans people.
“I asked Jimmy Pitaro what gonads are you going to show me in this instance?” Ruiz said on “The Dan Le Batard Show,” referring to the current chairman of ESPN. The pay-per-view of UFC 297, which features the fight between Strickland and Dricus du Plessis, will be available through ESPN+.
“I know Disney is an inclusive company, I worked for it. You say nothing?” Ruiz continued.
“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 airwaves, The Walt Disney Company,” Ruiz said. “Like are you a chickens–t that you allow this with impunity? Regularly? But it’s never been this vile.”
During a press conference held days before this weekend’s fight, Strickland got into a heated exchange with a reporter who asked him about previous comments made about the LGBTQ+ community. The bizarre exchange between Strickland and MMA reporter Alexander Lee became heated once Strickland wondered aloud if the reporter was “part of the opposition” and voted for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, calling the Canadian reporter an “enemy of Canada.”
In a curse-filled rant, Strickland later called the reporter “weak,” “pathetic” and a “coward” after the reporter asked about comments Strickland previously made saying he would feel he’d “failed as a man” if he had a gay son. Strickland added, “Go f–k yourself! Move the f–k on, man.”
The exchange only became more intense after Lee followed up with a question about Strickland’s past comments on the trans community. After Bud Light faced an anti-trans boycott for partnering with influencer Dylan Mulvaney, Strickland partnered with the official UFC sponsor and vowed to “fix” the beer company.
“Here’s the thing about Bud Light — 10 years ago, to be trans was a mental f–king illness,” Strickland said during this week’s press conference. “And now, all of a sudden, people like you have f–king weaseled your way in the world. You are an infection. You are the definition of weakness. Everything that is wrong with the world is because of f–king you.”
All of this was said while Strickland wore a shirt that read, “A Woman In Every Kitchen, A Gun In Every Hand.”
ESPN did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.
Mediaite was the first to report this story.