During the early hours of Sunday morning, former MMA champion Ben Askren got knocked out in under two minutes by YouTube celebrity Jake Paul. Following the heavily-anticipated boxing match, Askren opened up about his disappointing performance.
Going into the match, many expected and wanted Askren to defeat Paul. As a former collegiate wrestling champion turned MMA champion, he has much more experience as a fighter than his celebrity opponent. That said, this was Askren’s first fight in a boxing ring.
For Paul, this was only his third fight, and his first against a professional fighter. His first fight was against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib, and he faced retired NBA star Nate Robinson in his second. Paul has now earned knockouts in all three of his fights.
Following the match, Askren spoke candidly to reporters. He admitted he felt embarrassed by his performance, and knows he let a lot of people down.
“I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down,” Askren said, according to a USA Today Sports report. “People f—ing hate Jake Paul, and they wanted me to make him miserable.”
“I got knocked out by Jake Paul. Its f—ing embarrassing,” he added.
Although the fight didn’t go his way, Askren seemed to take it in stride. His guaranteed $500,000 payday plus a share of the pay-per-view revenues likely helped.
“There’s some pizza waiting in my hotel room. I’m going to go eat that, I’m going to fly home and hang out with my kids tomorrow,” Askren said when asked what’s next for him.
Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren Fight Controversy
Almost as soon as Jake Paul knocked out Ben Askren, the internet went into a frenzy with fans and other professional fighters saying Paul rigged the fight. As soon as the ref waved off the fight, doubt overshadowed the legitimacy of the bout.
Paul landed a huge right-handed blow to the left side of Askren’s face, which sent the fighter to the ground. As Askren stood up, he seemed a bit wobbly as the ref gave the countdown. Askren said he wanted to continue. However, the ref stopped the fight.
Conspiracy theories immediately took over social media. Some said that Paul paid off the ref to end it early. Others said that Paul paid off Askren to take a dive. One thing is clear though. Paul did indeed land a solid punch on Askren. Yet for some, it’s hard to believe considering Askren’s past heroics in the ring.
In 2019, during Askren’s UFC debut, he survived a vicious onslaught from Robbie Lawler. He somehow came back to win that match. Askren is known for his toughness and durability during his MMA career. Therefore Paul knocking him out with only one punch seemed implausible to many.
Even UFC legend Daniel Cormier had his doubts about the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight. Cameras captured Askren and his wife right after the fight walking backstage smiling and laughing. Maybe you would be too if you just got paid half a million dollars for 1 minute and 59 seconds worth of work. Yet many think it could be a sign that Paul rigged the bout.
Regardless of the conspiracy theories and whether there’s any validity to them, Paul walked away the big winner. Also, some analysts think this will earn him an even bigger fight with an even bigger payday. Could Conor McGregor or Nate Diaz be up next? We’ll see how things pan out as Paul continues to call out former fighting champions.