Ben Askren walked out of the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., $1 million richer for two minutes of work, so can we really call him a loser in this whole Jake Paul Triller Fight Club debacle? Yes, he ended up getting dropped to the canvas by Paul with a big overhand right (watch it here), but one knockdown and a wave off from the ref is certainly better than a sustained pummeling.
Askren himself seemed pretty all right with the result. Video of him walking backstage with a big smile on his face as he hugged his wife shot across Twitter following the event, making us wonder ... was this more of a grift or a troll than a legitimate combat sports bout?
This was borderline a heist.— MMA mania (@mmamania) April 18, 2021
Congrats Ben Askren on getting paid $$ pic.twitter.com/JzFHClxmI9
I mean, even by the extremely lax standards we walked into the Paul vs. Askren fight with? At the post-fight press conference, Askren claimed he took the fight as seriously as he could, but didn’t seem at all bothered by the results.
“I’m gonna take about $1 million home, and then I’m going to coach some wrestling,” he said, adding later “I will not be back again. I will not be in any sort of cage.”
As for the kind of Internet mockery he was likely to expect following the quick loss?
“It’s probably deserved ... because I got knocked out by Jake Paul,” he said. “It’s f—king embarrassing ... I don’t really give a s—t, there’s some pizza waiting in my hotel, I’m gonna go eat that, I’m gonna fly home and hang out with my kids tomorrow. And on Monday I’ll probably be at wrestling practice.”
Askren laid out how the somewhat controversial ending went down, where the referee wasn’t willing to send Askren back after the first knockdown.
“I said, ‘I’m fine,’ and he said, ‘No you’re not.’ And I said, ‘No, I am.’ And he said, ‘No, you’re not!’ And then he stopped it. And he’s in charge, so I couldn’t really debate too much.”
The only thing that seemed to bother “Funky” at all was losing to someone he didn’t respect in Jake Paul. Out of all the surreal moments during the Triller Fight Club pay-per-view (PPV), the wildest was Askren and comedian Pete Davidson having an “interview” that comprised of both of them just repeating, “Jake Paul is a piece of s—t.”
“No, I don’t [respect him],” Askren said. “Cause I want to see him get into a fight. I’m sorry I let you down, I didn’t get into a fight with him. He hit me early. As I said, that’s when you respect someone, when you see what they’re made of. I was hoping that you guys would get to see that tonight and I let a lot of people down. They didn’t get to see that.
“I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down,” he finished. “People f—king hate Jake Paul and they wanted to see me make him miserable and I didn’t do that. So I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down.”
For complete Triller Fight Club PPV results, including “Paul vs. Askren” play-by-play updates, click here.