Like it or not, Ben Askren represented MMA last weekend. Headlines from all over the sports and mainstream media world accurately labeled Askren as an MMA fighter (albeit a retired one), thus making him a literal representation of the sport in his boxing match against Jake Paul. As such, some people are having a hard time coming to terms with the chance that maybe, just maybe Askren is simply inadequate at striking and got knocked out by a YouTuber as a result. The refusal of so many to consider this possibility could be the denial of MMA fans to come to terms with the loss, but this population maintains that they are backing up this theory with evidence.
Aside from the ease and abruptness in which the fight ended, fans also point to viral photos of Askren after the loss that depicts him as carefree, maybe even joyous after losing to Paul:
In fact, the above photos may be what the dive theorists consider to be the smoking gun in their case that Askren threw the fight. After all, who is this happy after getting knocked out by Jake Paul?
Ben Askren Responds To Dive Accusations
Those who are familiar with the details of the Paul/Askren fight have countered the above photographic evidence by pointing out that Askren just had a career-high payday, which always warrants a smile. In an interview with ESPN this week, Askren decided to speak up for himself and shut down the conspiracy theory personally (via BJPenn.com).
“It definitely didn’t happen,” Askren said of people saying he took a dive. “I got hit. The question I have for those people is, what do I gain by it? I told you guys what I made for this fight.
“It was a very nice paycheck,” Askren continued. “I’m also not destitute and poor. What do I gain by that? The answer is nothing. I would actually lose a lot. It’s not something that would ever cross my mind.”
Another issue that much of the public has taken with the outcome was the stoppage itself. Askren had returned to his feet after being dropped by Paul and appeared to be communicating with the referee, yet the fight was called to a close anyway. Even respected veteran official Big John McCarthy weighed in on the stoppage, opining that the referee made a very poor decision. Askren also disagrees with the stoppage but does not feel the need to protest the call after the fact.
“I thought I was ready to fight,” Askren said of the stoppage. “I told the guy I was ready to fight. The last thing I’m going to do is blow up at a referee over what I think is not the right call. That’s just immature, and there’s no efficiency to it. It’s not going to solve anything. If anything, it’s going to get me fined by the commission.”
Aside from Askren not exactly being Sugar Ray Robinson with his hands, there is also the chance that maybe Jake Paul is actually just good. Askren believes the jury is still out on that, but he himself admits that it will take a more skilled striking opponent to be a true litmus test for the YouTuber’s boxing acumen.
“Maybe he’s good,” Askren said of Paul. “I don’t think so. I think I just didn’t defend the overhand right really well, and maybe he does land that punch hard. But it’s still TBD, because he’s gonna fight probably somebody who’s significantly better at boxing than I am. If he beats them, we’ll see.”
Ben Askren has stated that he has no plans of ever competing in any combat sports event ever again and will now place his attention solely on coaching.
Do you believe Ben Askren took a dive against Jake Paul last Saturday?