Two of the last three times that Ben Askren was seen competing in combat sports, he suffered pretty embarrassing knockouts. Now he opens up on which KO was worse for him.
In three fights spent in the UFC, Askren experienced one of the biggest drops in stock you will ever see. He went from what many considered to be the best fighter not in the UFC, to getting his first two pro losses, which came by way of 4-second KO and submission, after he won his debut by the skin of his teeth.
After retiring from competition and getting a hip replacement, Ben was asked to return to action for one final fight, against YouTube boxer Jake Paul. Unfortunately this would backfire too, as the 36-year old got finished in the very first round, getting faceplanted in an event hosted by Triller.
Ben Askren Didn’t Care
Following the contest, many people accused the bout of being rigged. This came in large part due to the way Ben Askren was seen smiling while he left the ring, despite being quickly dismantled.
However as he explains in a recent interview, Ben was not upset because he did not care about this fight. He knew going into it that the outcome was irrelevant, and that he would return to his normal life on Monday.
“Obviously it wasn’t ideal, but I feel like I told everyone going into the fight many, many times… I didn’t give a s—t. The Monday after, I’m going to be doing podcasts and coaching wrestling, win lose or draw. There was no more fights for me, that was it,” Askren said.
“Obviously I would’ve liked to win, but the referee stopped it and I said ‘Are you really sure that’s what you want to do,’ and he said ‘Yeah,’ and I said ‘Well I’m fine,’ and then that was it. So then I was like ‘I don’t need to be here anymore, so I’m out of here.'”
Which KO Was More Embarrassing?
Ben Askren made it clear that he had no regrets about taking this fight Jake Paul, although he admits that it was a shameful way to end. However he is no stranger to that feeling of humiliation, as he felt similarly after his rapid KO to Jorge Masvidal that went viral.
So that brought up the question of which of these two knockouts were more difficult for him to deal with. While Ben says that they were pretty equally embarrassing, the one against Masvidal had more important stakes to him, so was harder to get over.
“I would say they’re equally embarrassing. The Masvidal fight obviously meant a lot more to me. I mean, this was a fight that had little significance in my life, and the Masvidal fight had gigantic significance,” Askren said.
“If I won that I was going to fight for the UFC title, which was the only bely at that point that I hadn’t held. If I go on to win it, I’m the first person to collect all those belts. So yeah, the Masvidal match mattered a lot more to me, but if we’re talking about just from an embarrassment standpoint, I think they’re probably equally as embarrassing.”
Nate Robinson Reached Out To Ben Askren
Someone who understands the shoes that Ben Askren finds himself in, is NBA dunk champion Nate Robinson. Nate was the previous opponent that Jake Paul faced, and he suffered a similar fate that was turned into countless amounts of memes.
As it turns out, Robinson apparently reached out to Ben following this fight. He offered the Olympian some advice when it comes to dealing with the public lashings that come from this type of setback.
“Nate reached out Sunday morning or something. He said something like, ‘Yeah, I understand how bad it sucks, and the public will forget about it,’ which I don’t know if I agree with him on that one, because I’ve been getting the Masvidal knee GIF for effing two years, so the public doesn’t really forget,” Askren said.
“(He also said) ‘Hey, as long as you have good people around you, your life’s going to go on.’ To that part, I agree with. I keep telling you, I love what I do for a living, and I love my wife and I have some awesome kids and we had a great day yesterday, so yeah, life does go on.”
It is good to see Ben Askren handle this defeat with such class and a positive attitude. No matter what, he walked away the winner by taking this fight and earning a hefty chunk of change along the way.