Former ONE Championship and Bellator welterweight king Ben Askren now has his first UFC victory. He snagged that elusive accomplishment at UFC 235 last weekend, when he submitted former UFC champ Robbie Lawler.
Unfortunately, Askren’s impressive victory over Lawler came with a side order of controversy. While it initially looked as though the choke that sealed the deal lulled Lawler to sleep, the replay revealed Lawler might not have been out at all — and there was no tap.
While some members of the MMA community feel that referee Herb Dean intervened too early, Ben Askren says there is no controversy in his eyes.
“Obviously the contest didn’t go the way I wanted to, although the outcome was great,” Askren said on his Rudis podcast recently (transcript via MMA News). “Controversy creates cash obviously. To me there was no controversy. I got beat up for a little bit, got put in a really bad position, I came out of it and I was able to finish him.”
Ben Askren elaborated, explaining that he didn’t find the stoppage controversial because he doesn’t believe Lawler was going to escape his choke. Furthermore, he feels that Lawler did indeed saw some logs while the choke was applied.
“So, number one, I do think he passed out for a little bit. Number two, there was just no escape,” Askren stated. “There was 1:40 left, he was not getting out of that hold in no way, shape or form.
“It was sunk deep, it was sunk tight and there was just literally nowhere for him to go.”
What do you think of these comments from Ben Askren?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/7/2019.