Ben Askren reportedly took home $500,000 from his first-round knockout loss to Jake Paul.
Whatever you think of his performance and what that fight may or may not mean to his legacy, you have to imagine Funky takes great solace in that payday.
According to UFC fighter Belal Muhammad, that was Askren’s incentive all along.
In an interview conducted in association with Unikrn, who have launched a new virtual UFC betting product for MMA fans, Muhammad claims Askren told him before the fight he was going to lose.
“It does more harm to boxing than anything, the whole show was a joke. Everybody in MMA knows Ben does not box.
“I’ve trained with Ben and I know that he does not box and he even admitted that if Jake Paul has any type of boxing ability he’s going to lose. And just judging by the way Ben showed up at weigh-in, he looked super out of shape, he didn’t care about that fight.
“These guys are Youtubers, they can’t fight real fighters, so they have to keep fighting guys that can’t strike. If you want to keep those paydays coming in you have to keep winning.
“Now you’ve got nerds and trolls online that think these guys are actually real fighters. That’s the only thing that’s annoying about it. You’ve got these guys, these little freaking nerds, that think these guys are monsters now.”
Muhammad is right: Askren has never, ever been famed for his stand-up striking. He is a renowned wrestler and that was part of the allure of the fight.
Could a world-class, decorated athlete in combat sports translate to boxing with no known striking skills? Or would he succumb to the YouTuber who had real training for a couple of years but hasn’t fought any real boxers?
It turns out the latter was victorious and Askren seemingly knew that would be the case all along.
Some fans might feel cheated reading that if they paid their hard earned money to watch the fight, but this is hardly Anthony Joshua saying it privately ahead of meeting Tyson Fury.