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The retired former mixed martial arts champion Ben Askren fought YouTube star Jake Paul this past Saturday night, losing to Paul via first round knockout within two minutes of the opening bell. Askren, who took one solid punch from Paul before crumbling to the canvas managed to make it back to his feet momentarily but not before the referee had decided hat he had seen enough and immediately called a halt to the contest. The fans on Twitter social media immediately reacted to the fight in a very unflattering manner for both competitors, with “rigged” quickly trending as a popular topic at the social media website as thousands of fans across the globe reacted to the YouTube stars victory over the former Olympian.

As the only combat sports analyst in the industry today to regularly cover the topic of fixed fights in the worlds of mixed martial arts and professional boxing, the fact most rigged fights fly under the radar of the seemingly clueless and unaware general public on a fairly regular basis should be enough to tell you something about the overall integrity of Saturday nights Askren vs. Paul money grab. The lack of professionalism surrounding the entire Triller card itself, more of a circus side show act than a professional boxing event is among your first clues that not everything may be on the up and up with this promotion.

In fact, the warning signs were numerous and legion that this wasn’t exactly as legitimate of a contest as many of us had originally anticipated and been led to believe. From a YouTube star with very little fighting experience boxing a retired former mixed martial arts champion who had just came off hip surgery to the fact Askren looked completely out of shape coming into the weigh ins; after seeing Askren crumble to the ground from one good punch and subsequently observing how the the fight was immediately called off in short fashion within two minutes of the opening bell everything adds up to an uncomfortable. yet all too familiar truth in combat sports which in retrospect shouldn’t come to anyone as a surprise with an IQ above room temperature. The Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren fight bears all the hallmarks of a rigged, fixed professional fight.

Interestingly, according to the 2016 documentary, “Dirty Games – The dark side of sports,” the award winning journalist Benjamin Best interviews former boxing manager Charles Farrell who expertly explains how fights are fixed in professional boxing. “You fix fights to make betting money," said Farrell. "You fix fights to get a fighter a championship. You fix fights to maneuver a fighter up the ranks toward a championship fight. You fix fights to win, in order, again, to position someone strategically," explained Farrell. "You fix fights to lose in order to get paid and in order to make, you know, betting coups."

“The way you fix fights varies greatly," explained Farrell. "You fix fights by buying judges. That’s, you know, one easy to do it. You fix fights by having the referee working for you, so that, if there is anyway that the ref can stop a fight in your guy’s favor, he does. You fix fights by colluding with the fighters, generally the loser. It’s almost always the loser," said Farrell. "Winners almost never know that the fight is fixed."

With the Askren vs. Paul fight stopped so early within the first round, the fact all it took was one good punch for a former Olympian and decorated mixed martial arts champion to hit the canvas like a sack of potatoes ultimately ended up setting the stage for what has now proven to be a controversial stoppage that will be debated for sometime to come. With Askren clearly showing up out of shape for the fight to begin with, it’s clear a lot of theatre went into the lead up to the bout which ultimately proved to be anything but a fight; leading to speculation from thousands of fans across the globe on exactly how serious Ben Askren himself actually took this contest?

With Askren lacking anything resembling a legitimate jab to maintain distance against Paul throughout the match, the fight in many ways resembled a glorified sparring contest where Askren looked for the easy way out and took a dive on the first seemingly convincing punch. Managing to make his way back to his feet while continuing to sell the blow to the marks in the audience, the referee sensed a golden opportunity to bring this absurdity of a boxing contest to a close after giving Askren the once over and waving the fight off for good.

Askren was all smiles on his way to the dresser room after the fight, in essence laughing all the way to the bank after a rather uneventful two minutes in the ring against the Triller promotions golden goose. After a successful career in mixed martial arts, the fact one of the sports most heralded champions had to go to a side show circus act in professional boxing in order to find a lucrative payday speaks dividends to the current state of professional mixed martial arts where athletes still struggle to make ends meet. A sad reality in combat sports today which all but guarantees the next over the hill mixed martial arts fighter will be all too willing to step in and work against a stacked deck in subsequent Triller promotions.