Stephen Thompson is not having any of the Paul Brothers’ nonsense and will not be watching the Paul vs. Askren bout.
Stephen Thompson is the latest UFC fighter to give his opinion about Ben Askren stepping in to face Jake Paul in a boxing match. Thompson is not a fan of professional fighters mixing it up with the likes of YouTube stars. Askren is of course a highly skilled MMA fighter and former wrestler who held multiple MMA titles throughout his career. Thompson thinks this fight and others like it makes a laughing stock of combat sports and will not be watching on Saturday night.
“I refuse. I refuse to watch that,” Thompson told MMAFighting.com. “It is kind of cringe. I think it’s kind of cringe. The YouTube people, the people who are just in it for the entertainment—which, everybody’s watching for the entertainment—but as an athlete, that shouldn’t even make sense. That shouldn’t even make sense to me.”
Thompson has been a lifelong martial artist and is still working his way up to his first UFC title. He grew up in karate and like most with that sort of background has massive respect for combat sports and competitors. He doesn’t like to see great fighters stepping in against the Paul brothers and even went as far as saying these types of fighters could hurt a fighter’s legacy.
“I think it would just hurt Ben Askren’s legacy,” Thompson said. “I know some other guy, [Paul’s] brother [Logan] tried to get the fight with Mayweather. I think it would just hurt their legacy. As an athlete, I don’t think it makes sense, but as entertainment, as a fan of the game, and me being a YouTuber as well, those guys are making moves. The Paul brothers are making moves. So hats off to those guys, but I just want to slap ‘em. I want to slap ‘em. I do. I hope that Ben Askren goes out there—I know it’s boxing—but picks him up and slams him, gets disqualified, and looks at him and says, ‘That’s real fighting.’”
Despite not wanting to watch the fight, Thompson admitted that he thinks Askren has a chance to win and he did think the press conference between the two was entertaining. While we may never see Thompson in a celebrity boxing match, we will be seeing him back in the UFC Octagon soon as he is getting ready to fight Gilbert Burns at UFC 264.
Will you be watching the Ben Askren vs. Jake Paul boxing match this Saturday, April 17?