What’s worse than getting knocked out badly in 5 seconds in a fight? Well obviously getting knocked out badly in 4 seconds lol, but other then that, one can argue that being a grappler and getting out grappled is, especially when go through a gruelling back and forth fight that you are edging for a lot of it – then you make a bad mistake in a grappling exchange in the 3rd round and get choked unconscious.
This is what has happened to Ben Askren in the past year, knocked out in 5 seconds by Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 in one of the greatest flying knees that has ever been seen in MMA and now this tough battle with Demian Maia ending in Askren getting choked unconscious.
With Askren now talking about retirement after the loss to Maia, I think it’s fair to say that 2019 will be a year that Ben Askren would rather forget in terms of competitively. Its nothing personal for me, but i’m just a huge Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia fan so that was the only reason i wanted to see them beat Askren – but i didn’t imagine in the way they both did it.
But that’s just my point with this post, is that I think Ben Askren’s past two losses are more painful, meaning potentially more emotionally scarring than any other two back to back losses i’ve ever seen before i think. The Masvidal KO must feel like a surreal blur to him, he must wake up some days wondering if the fight actually happened and the KO itself will literally still be being tweeted to him when he’s 75 or something lol – meanwhile the Maia loss will probably haunt him in his dreams, weird visions of slowly sinking into quicksand kinda nightmares maybe.
Literally the two most painful ways to lose in MMA happened to Askren back to back on the biggest stage – the quick blitzed KO and the gruelling slowly suffocating loss.
Others before Ben
Now sure Ben Askren isn’t a UFC title holder and he likely never will be at this point, but his level of stardom is certainly on par with the top names in the sport.
Some other high level MMA fighters that have had horrific back to back losses are the likes of: Ronda Rousey, who got Knocked out brutally and quickly twice by Holly Holm then by Amanda Nunes – then Anderson Silva, suffered a KO while showboating in the first fight then broke his leg in the second fight against Chris Weidman. You can definitely argue that Anderson’s was the most physically painful. Jose Aldo got pieced up and stopped twice in a row by Max Holloway, once infront of his huge Rio fanbase which must have been tough.
Darren Till is another example of a fighter who has had haunting back to back losses, but he has since bounced back to winning ways since then – while Rousey and Silva never really looked the same again and it is likely that Askren might not look the same again if he ever comes back.
It’s so tough for a fighter to come back strong after back to back tough losses – one is hard enough, but two can literally break peoples careers – these horrific kinds of back to back losses go beyond “oh it’s just a loss” because they can throw a fighter into a dark pit of self-sabotaging anger and depression.
To know that your best wasn’t enough twice in a row and not only that, but also the fact that you actually got stopped, definitively beaten twice, that’s really tough for a fighter to accept – imagine the worst thing that could happen to you in your job happening two days in a row, punch yourself in the face a bunch then you will get an understanding of that mental torment you would feel as a fighter.
Too Funky to care
Some of the fighters I mentioned did not handle their dramatic back to back losses well, falling into a pit of media silence but Darren Till has shown life beyond death at UFC 244 beating Kelvin Gastelum and the way Ben Askren views life tells me that he will likely get over, or already has gotten over these losses emotionally quicker then many other fighters out there.
Ben Askren is so open, honest, intelligent, down to earth and care free seeming – he speaks loud and proud, it’s a huge part of his charm to fans and also why he annoys some fighters like Jorge Masvidal.
Askren amazingly came straight out within a day or so of both his devastating losses and gave full half an hour interviews to share his experiences about it – that shows a level of stability within himself that a lot of fighters just don’t have.
I wish Ben Askren the best whether he fights again or not and I salute his attitude towards loss and the memories he has given us MMA fans in the relatively short time he has been around top level MMA.
Hope you enjoyed today’s post and as usual stay tuned for more from the world of MMA right here at the MMAGateway.
See you soon people!