Ben Askren Fires Back at Critics, Stands By “Bold Face Lie” Comment Directed at Dana White
By Kelsey Mowatt
Despite the fact Ben Askren handed Douglas Lima is his first loss since 2009, and ended the punishing welterweight’s nine fight win streak with a clear cut unanimous decision, the Bellator champion continues to face criticisms about his most recent performance. Since Askren recorded the win at Bellator 64, some fans and observers alike, have been critical of the renowned wrestler’s recent run of decision victories. Not surprisingly, the champion doesn’t agree with the content or severity of some of the criticisms he’s received.
“I feel like I completely dominated the whole fight against a very dangerous fighter,” Askren told FCF when asked to review his April 6th bout with Lima. “Furthermore, I feel like I made a lot of progress in my ground-and-pound even though a lot of people have been giving me sh-t for not beating him worse. But if you say watch my Lyman Good fight versus my Lima fight, my ground-and-pound is significantly better, and Douglas Lima is leap and bounds better than Lyman was on the ground.”
Since arriving in Bellator, Askren has won six of of seven bouts by decision, which includes wins over veterans like Dan Hornbuckle, Nick Thompson and Jay Hieron.
“I think part of it is that I got a bad reputation getting started,” said Askren, whose takedowns and controlling top game have been driving factors in his MMA successes thus far. “I didn’t finish opponents who I probably could have finished earlier in my career, because I didn’t have the skills. Now I’ve improved significantly but I’m fighting much better people. Douglas Lima is probably the best guy I’ve faced.”
“I think some people are very critical because they want to see me lose,” Askren added. “But the problem is that they know once I get a guy to the ground, the chances of a guy sweeping me, getting up or submitting me are slim to none. So they know that when I get a guy down in ten seconds, there’s going to be four minutes and ten seconds of me doing what I want to do…They don’t get what they want to see and that’s me getting beat.”
While Askren has taken steps to improve his stand-up, by training with accomplished striking coach Duke Roufus and the renowned Roufusport Team, the 27 year-old-fighter concedes it’s a work in progress.
“As far as taking unnecessary chances in fights, it’s just not something I’m going to do,” said the former All American wrestler and Olympian. “Anthony Pettis is one of the best strikers in the sport, so do I try to take him down? No. I want to work on my striking. That’s practice. I don’t get paid for practice; I don’t get judged on my practice…so that’s when I’m going to work on things I’m not so good at.”
One of Askren’s more recent detractors has been UFC President Dana White, who called the Bellator champion “the most boring fighter in MMA history”, after the fighter criticized White for comments he recently made regarding random drug testing.
White reportedly stated this weekend in Sweden that having the promotion implement a random testing policy would be too difficult, and that further, the current testing regiment fighter’s face through various athletic commissions and the UFC itself is “the gold standard.”
Askren had responded to White’s assertion via Twitter by stating “The USOC random tests Olympic athletes in all sports. Dana saying testing his fighters would be impossible is a bold faced lie.”
“Dana could have said a lot of things, but what he said was a lie. He could have said it’s going to be a very expensive system, we just don’t have the excess capital for it right now which would have been totally true and reasonable,” Askren noted. “The UFC isn’t obliged by any means to do that testing. If they did it, would it be awesome? Yes. Is it impossible? No.”
“Say the UFC has 400 fighters, say they test five percent of their fighters every quarter…testing 20 people every three months is probably not that expensive,” Askren added. “Now fighters would have to look at it and say I have a five percent chance of getting tested for performance enhancing drugs. It’s not a very good chance that you’re going to get tested, but when you don’t know when the drug tester is going to come knocking on their door and make you pee in a cup, are you going to take that chance? That’s a risky proposition.”