Welcome to Midnight Mania!
Just a few short hours ago, news arose that YouTube star Jake Paul would continue his venture into boxing opposite Ben Askren. Seeing as how Paul has only ever previously boxed opposite a fellow YouTuber and former NBA player, it’s a definite step up in competition to fight a former professional fighter, but it’s also something of a lateral move considering Paul’s end goal is a scrap with Conor McGregor.
Still, it’s sure to be a profitable fight for Paul, and a victory likely does set up a match with Dillon Danis next. As for Askren, however, why would the retired Olympian return to competition for a spectacle like this?
While money is an obvious answer, Askren also sounds excited to beat up someone “pretending to be an athlete.” Check out his full answer below:
“Yes, Mr. Jake Paul, I do accept,” Askren said (transcription via BJPenn.com). “I know you called me out after that last fight against that bum Nate Robinson. And listen, it’s a pretty simple choice. I’m going to make a whole bunch of money to beat up a guy who is pretending to be an athlete. Because at the end of the day, that’s what you’re doing. I know you may think I don’t have too many standup skills. Also at the end of the day, I don’t really need to.”
“I’m a world-class athlete, I’ve won NCAA titles, I’ve been in the Olympics, I’ve won belts in multiple mixed martial arts organizations. And quite frankly, I am impressed that you’ve deluded yourself into thinking you’re a fighter! That you are really tough, that you can really box. It’s really quite impressive that beating up another YouTuber and beating up a boxer who has never been in the ring before makes you somehow good at boxing because it doesn’t. So yes, Jake, I accept. I will see you on March 28 in Los Angeles, and I will humble you like millions of people want to see happen.”
Even acknowledging himself as no boxing specialist, Askren’s argument holds water. Askren has a great deal more experience pushing through adversity and fatigue under the bright lights than Paul. However, Paul has proven himself fairly dedicated to his boxing training, and he is quite a few years younger.
It all adds up to what will likely be a competitive fight with continuing bad blood. Until they meet in the ring, I leave you all with this meme, which I pray becomes reality:
Angela Hill presents the best MMA/UFC holiday baked good ever:
Adrian Yanez — the “Contender Series” product known for knockouts (like THIS ONE!) — just received his jiu-jitsu black belt!
An appropriately matched and very fun Welterweight main event:
Per sources, Michael Chiesa (@MikeMav22) vs. Neil Magny (@NeilMagny) has been agreed to for the Jan. 20 Fight Island card. One of these two could presumably serve as a backup to that Edwards/Chimaev main event. pic.twitter.com/XHYGq3jsQX— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 22, 2020
A good group of hilariously timed photos ... and Mike Perry just bein’ himself!
UFC fighters who Absolutely love their Job. pic.twitter.com/cidXSjOweA— Sam 183-92 (@sam_pixels) December 21, 2020
UFC/Dana White released a video yesterday celebrating their 2020 victory over COVID-19 and the evil media, but they played around with the facts to do so. Here’s a breakdown (click through for full thread) and quick example:
I tracked down the articles cited in UFC President Dana White's anti-media video today related to the UFC's efforts during the coronavirus. Might be worth revisiting them to see what they say and if pushback on them is warranted in light of the very good year UFC had.— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) December 22, 2020
Quote used vs. Full quote pic.twitter.com/KycErdAbk8— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) December 22, 2020
Jiu-jitsu master vs. Sengalese wrestling standout is not the usual style match up!
IT'S HAPPENING!— Michael Fiedel (@MichaelFiedel) December 22, 2020
13x IBJJF World champion and 2x ADCC gold medalist Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida (0-0) making his MMA debut vs. Sengalese wrestling sensation Oumar "Reug Reug" Kane (1-0) at ONE Championship's 2/24 event, per @raphamarinho. pic.twitter.com/AHAma5TTf0
Slips, rips, and KO clips
My team mate/friend/coach Mike Malott returned from a nearly four-year retirement to pick up a pretty dramatic first-round finish on last week’s CFFC card ... then still took an L!
With all the “Knockout Of The Year” talk starting up, let’s not forget this insane knockout that happened roughly an hour before Joaquin Buckley’s jumping spin kick.
Was reminded of it yesterday— Connoisseur of Combat (@ConOfCombat) December 22, 2020
Can’t forget about it
We see simultaneous hooks every so often in this column, but simultaneous liver shots?
Tis the season!
Midnight Music: My mom introduced me to the music of Gary Clark Jr., an Austin, Texas musician who blends blues and rock with hip-hop elements. He picked up a couple Grammys this year for the track below, which is definitely a neat piece of fusion:
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.