One of the biggest stories coming out of UFC 235 was an extremely controversial call made by referee Herb Dean to stop the contest between Ben Askren and Robbie Lawler. While Askren was applying a bulldog choke, it appeared to Dean that Lawler had gone unconscious, so he stopped the fight. Immediately, Lawler protested, stating he was fine, and had given the thumbs up to Herb when the referee checked his arm.
Ben Askren has since gone on to say that he does not believe the call was controversial, and that Lawler may have woken right back up, but was momentarily unconscious. He went on MMAFighting’s The MMA Hour to talk with Luke Thomas about the incident.
In the prerecorded interview, Askren stated “The more I watch this finish…..the less controversial I think it is.” He went on to explain how he firmly believed that Lawler briefly went out, then came back. “With a blood choke, ‘cause that’s what this was,” Askren said, “all you need is a little bit, and boom you pop right back.”
“I crush watermelons,” Askren said, referencing his grip strength, “You’re not getting me off man.” This statement is backed up by a video that has been circulating of him crushing two watermelons at the same time with his squeeze.
When asked about the apparent thumbs up from Lawler, Ben stated “When Herb came at me the first time, I loosened a little bit, so who knows maybe that was enough to let a little blood back in where he woke back up.”
So was this a bad stoppage after all? Should the rematch happen? Let us know your thoughts!