Prior to winning the Best Actor award for his performance in King Richard, Smith stormed the stage at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre to slap Rock, who had joked about his fellow American’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, who is also an actor.
YouTube star Paul, who is 5-0 as a professional boxer, was quick to react to the incident, writing on Twitter: “Someone get me on the phone with Will Smiths boxing representative asap.
“I got $15m for Will Smith and $15m for Chris Rock ready to go Let’s do it in August on my undercard.”
Paul also wrote, “Nah this is crazy ahah,” in response to a tweet that had compared his knockout of former UFC champion Tyron Woodley to Smith’s slap of Rock.
In an apparent reference to Pinkett Smith’s shaved head, Rock had quipped: “Jada, I love you. GI Jane 2, can’t wait to see you.” Pinkett Smith – who announced last year that she shaved her head after struggling with alopecia – could be seen in the audience together with her husband, rolling her eyes at the joke.
After Rock’s comment, Smith stood up and proceeded to walk towards the stage. “Uh oh…” Rock was heard uttering. Smith then proceeded to hit Rock before walking off stage back to his seat. “Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me,” said Rock, looking visibly shocked at the moment.
Smith was then heard yelling: “Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth,” to which Rock replied: “Wow… dude. It was a GI Jane joke.”
“Keep my wife’s name out your f***ing mouth,” Smith yells again. “I’m going to…” replied the comedian, who appeared flustered at the interaction. “That was the greatest night in the history of television,” Rock said, before going on to present the award for Best Documentary.
Paul was not the only personality in the fight game to react to the incident, with UFC president Dana White tweeting: “FINALLY!!!!! there’s an #Oscars show worth watching. AND @chrisrock has a chin.”
Meanwhile, UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou tweeted a meme that featured a picture of Smith slapping Rock under the caption, “Yeah, but Ngannou has no wrestli– [wrestling].”