Ben Askren's "Funky" Finish

Ben Askren's "Funky" Finish

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Bellator Fighting Championships XIV
(Ryan Thomas protested his stoppage loss to Ben Askren at Bellator 14. Photo by Thomas M. Rozdzynski.)

Welterweight Ben Askren sometimes goes by the nickname “Funky,” and that’s exactly how his fight last night at Bellator 14 ended.

Funky.

Referee Dr. Jimmy Smith saw fit to call an end to the bout after Askren tied an anaconda choke on his opponent Ryan Thomas at 2:40 of the first round in a welterweight match at the Chicago Theatre. While Smith thought Thomas had gone limp, when Askren let go, Thomas bounced up off the canvas quickly, uncharacteristic of someone who might have been unconscious.

It didn’t matter to Askren, who offered little solace to Thomas. Though he looks mellow and laid back, Askren’s intensity dripped from his words.

“After looking at the replay, I had that choke on pretty tight, so you weren’t getting out of it, Ryan,” Askren says. “I gave you the benefit of the doubt in the ring, but after I saw the replay, it was pretty much over. So you might as well just admit that you lost.”

That take-no-prisoners attitude helped Askren to two NCAA national championships at the 170 pounds and to qualify for the 2008 Olympics. But even during his career at Mizzou, he already knew mixed martial arts was for him.

“You know, I love fighting and I don’t mind getting hit in the face,” Askren says. “It was just the natural progression for me.”

Against Thomas, Askren showed good proficiency with technical jiu jitsu submissions, at one point slapping on a couple of guillotines and a Peruvian necktie before finishing with the anaconda. He also momentarily got caught in an arm triangle but squirmed free. He might be learning quickly, but there’s nothing that’s not worth improving.

“I definitely have to work on my stand up for sure, but my jiu jitsu could be better, too,” Askren says. “But fighting in Bellator is great. The quality is good and it will only help me get better.”

Bellator 14 was Askren’s first “high-profile” fight, but the Wisconsin native knows more lies ahead.

“Sure, there are bigger leagues to go after down the line, I know that. But right now fighting in Bellator will let me continue to get better as a fighter.”

8 COMMENTS

  1. that fight was bs and should be a no contest that was worst ref stoppage i seen in a long time

  2. Ugliest “anaconda” choke I’ve ever seen… It wasn’t even a pretty guillotine if you ask me

  3. Horrid stoppage. Worst I’ve ever seen. Anyone who says otherwise is an idiot or Ben Askren.

  4. After that post fight press conference, “Fnck Ben Askren” little punk bitch won’t even admit his victory was a fluke. Every body (accept Ben) knows that shit, hell even his Wife knows. It just goes to show you what kind of punk sissy he is. A real warrior, would not only, not want to win that way but would at least have the balls to admit it. Ben Askren hahaha what fncking joke!

  5. i mean come on seriously people. that guy was not getting out, so he would only have wrenched his neck tighter
    and tighter until he passed out. maybe the ref should waited abit to call it, but it would of been called eventually
    or the guy would have started drooling.

    I think people just don’t like him because he’s not your typical bald head d-bag type fighter. That goes out there
    to fight to fight.

    That dude be askren is going out there to win, however that may be. i think he’ll continue to surprise the
    fighting community.

  6. He had a tight choke on Thomas and the ref stopped it. Not Askrens fault… but if it continued Thomas would of just ben choked out in a different move. Askren was killin him.

    Askrens hand was raised and he won the fight. We will see what happens in the next round… I would imagine who ever he fights is going to TRY to keep the fight standing.

  7. Anyone who knows anything about MMA knows the Thomas-Askren fight was a joke. Horrible stoppage by the ref. That said, these things happen from time to time, but what’s most disappointing is the way Askren handled it after the fight. I understand why a fighter doesn’t want a win taken off his record, but Christ, Askren could’ve at least been honest about it. MMA fans would have respected such honesty, but Askren chose a different path.. What a shame.

    Looking forward to watching this cocky punk get his clock cleaned come May 20th.

  8. The guy looked like his neck was about to break. He wasn’t moving at all and his eyes were closed. The ref yelled to him to get some indication he was still awake and then called it. That’s a much better outcome than having someone die in a bout you ref’d.

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