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ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt responds to critics of his negative reaction to Joaquin Buckley’s viral KO

There’s no denying just how spectacular Joaquin Buckley’s spinning back kick knockout of Impa Kasanganay truly was at UFC on ESPN+ 37. The UFC’s official Twitter account dubbed it “the most unbelievable KO” in the history of the promotion. And many fans and media types alike already consider it simply the greatest knockout in UFC history, although that’s up for debate.

One prominent media personality who didn’t completely appreciate Buckley’s remarkable move, however, was ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt. According to The Athletic managing editor Greg Rosenstein late Saturday night, Van Pelt had this to say in a sarcastic tone while showing the highlight on ESPN’s flagship “SportsCenter”:

“I get that people love it. … I don’t. I don’t love that. The guy is out! Mashes his head on the ground! Yay!”

In case you’ve been living under a rock the past 36-plus hours, here’s the clip of the knockout:

Probably not surprising, but MMA Twitter didn’t react kindly to Van Pelt’s reaction to the brutal nature of Buckley’s incredible finish. Some folks seemed to think Van Pelt should have only positive things to say about the UFC since ESPN is the promotion’s programming partner (which is a ridiculous take BTW). Others, however, called Van Pelt a hypocrite since he loves the NFL and by default – at least to some degree – accepts football’s disturbing concussion history. They also wondered if he’d feel compelled to say something similar about a brutal boxing knockout.

To his credit, Van Pelt answered quite a few folks on Twitter, and here’s a sampling of what he had to say:

There are plenty more responses to check out if you go to his tweets & replies.

To his credit, Van Pelt didn’t hide from the MMA Twitter mob, which, at least in some cases, made some good points that at least seemed to get Van Pelt thinking – and even agreeing in some cases.

The Blue Corner is MMA Junkie’s blog space. We don’t take it overly serious, and neither should you. If you come complaining to us that something you read here is not hard-hitting news, expect to have the previous sentence repeated in ALL CAPS.

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