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Ben Askren on Jake Paul's TKO, Ref Stoppage: 'I Thought I Was Fine but Whatever'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2021

FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2018, file photo, UFC fighter Ben Askren waits for the start of a middleweight mixed martial arts bout between David Branch and Jared Cannonier at UFC 230, in New York. Askren is finally making his UFC debut after a decade in mixed martial arts and a lifetime of wrestling. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)
Julio Cortez/Associated Press

Ben Askren took an embarrassing knockout loss to Jake Paul on Saturday night, but the former UFC fighter thinks the ref stopped the bout too soon. 

“I thought I was fine but whatever, that’s his job,” Askren told reporters. “If that’s what he felt, that’s what he did.”

Paul, a YouTuber turned boxer, earned a TKO of Askren at 1:59 into the first round. Askren was seemingly alert after getting to his feet for the standing eight count, but the referee stopped the bout over concern he could no longer continue.

“It’s probably deserved because I got knocked out by Jake Paul. It’s f--king embarrassing," Askren said of the criticism of his loss. "I didn’t let the MMA community down, I let the world down. 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.”

Askren started out his MMA career 19-0 (1) before leaving the sport in 2019 after back-to-back losses. While Paul was considered the betting favorite, some believed Askren's competitive fighting past would give him the edge.

It turns out he simply became Paul's latest meme fodder as he continues his unlikely rise up the boxing world. 

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