- Ben Askren explained why he doesn’t think everybody should pursue MMA
- “Funky” recommended MMA to only two fighters
Ben Askren had devastating twilight years in his combat sports career. After beating former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler at UFC 235 in his debut with the promotion in 2019, “Funky” went downhill. He was at the wrong end of the record-setting five-second UFC KO loss when he faced Jorge Masvidal and suffered a submission loss to Demian Maia a few months later.
Reflecting on his career, the former ONE Championship and Bellator champion didn’t beat around the bush and admitted he rarely push someone to pursue MMA.
MMA is not for everybody
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Askren said MMA is not for everybody as one has to be exceptionally good to reach the top-tier promotion which is the UFC. In the UFC, things would get even tougher as a fighter would need to win every single fight in his first contract.
“I usually advocate against MMA. It is a sh*tty career,” Askren said. “I say out of the many thousands of people across America that want to do MMA, man, if you make it to the UFC, OK this is what I talk them through when they’re not that skilled: Make it to the UFC, which that’s hard, right? You’re going to have to do a bunch of amateur fights, then a bunch of low-level pro fights. Someone is going to have to see you, you’re going to have to not get injured, all these good things are going to have to happen to you.”
Askren also explained why money is hard to earn in MMA, even in the UFC.
“So you make it to the UFC, and you’re on a baseline contract, and (if) you win all three fights your first year, you’ll probably make $80,000,” he continued. “OK, that’s all right. But, hold on, you didn’t pay your management, you didn’t pay your trainer, you didn’t pay your taxes. Sh*t, you’re sitting on $30,000 to $40,000. You’re at the poverty level. And that’s if you win all three fights and everything went really well. MMA is not a great career. It really isn’t.”
Ben made two exceptions
While Askren is being vocal about his refusal to promote MMA, he has made two exceptions. As per “Funky,” he only recommended MMA to fellow former UFC fighter Corey Anderson, and fellow former Bellator fighter Jordan Newman.
“The two would be Corey Anderson (and Jordan Newman),” Askren revealed. “So when I moved to (Roufusport MMA), I didn’t do any wrestling, because there wasn’t anyone who was competitive, and then I was like, ‘Hey, I need to wrestle at least one day a week.’ So I would go down to (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater), which is like 40 minutes away, and Corey was a national runner-up at heavyweight. I guess he had a little bit of a boxing background, and I said, ‘Hey, you should consider fighting. I think you’d be really good. You seem to have the mentality for it, you love to work hard.’”
“And then the other one, he’s one of my managers for AWA,” he continued. “His name is Jordan Newman. He’s currently 4-0 in Bellator and fights on Nov. 18 [at Bellator 288].”
Even when Askren switched to boxing, he also failed as he got knocked out by YouTuber-turned-boxing star Jake Paul. Askren has never fought since then, and from the looks of it, it appears that he’s happy to be away from combat sports.