Much has been made of the ridiculous production decisions that turned Triller Fight Club’s Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren show into a total circus. Less time has been spent focusing on the actual fights, because let’s be honest: they were nothing to write home about. Even the Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight, which at least had a satisfying knockdown, was basically stopped before it really got going (watch highlights).
Some agree with the ref’s decision to save Askren from more punishment. He did seem a bit wobbly on his feet after the knockdown, after all. But in the eyes of mixed martial arts (MMA) refereeing legend, Big John McCarthy, the decision by the ref to wave the fight off was “small time.”
“You’ve got this promotion with all this money, and you use the Georgia State Athletic Commission’s people,” McCarthy said on his ‘Weighing In’ podcast (via MMA Fighting). “And I don’t want to say anything bad about them, but the Askren fight, this is what happens when you have a small-time referee making small-time decisions.
“And when I say small-time decisions, Ben Askren was up before it was even the count of eight, and was given a lot of extra time because the guy was trying to keep Jake Paul back,” he continued. “And this was the first round, there’s a lot of people paying money for this fight. It’s not a little regional grass roots fight, where you have a four-rounder and someone gets knocked on the ground and you don’t want someone to get hurt, you make decisions based on ... I realize the situation that we’re in.”
The situation is it’s a circus. People paid for the circus ... big time. But it’s also a fight, and the commission was there to run that fight properly.
“To stop the fight, no, you don’t stop the fight,” McCarthy continued. “You don’t just hand it Jake the fight that way. Yes, Ben got hit with a shot, but Ben was up, and Ben was ready to go. His hands were in the right place...all the things. Small-time decision. It was really bad. If you’re going to have a fight on, bring on a referee that understands what it’s like to referee a high-level competition, or a big-time show.”
That’s my big issue with Triller, even beyond the obnoxious commentary and musical interludes. The fights were bad, and the main event was a joke. The only thing it really delivered was bragging rights for Jake Paul, which is all well and good because that’s all Paul was going for.
For complete “Paul vs. Askren” fight card results and coverage click here.