MMA

Crazy First Round Between Askren And Lawler Ends With Controversial Stoppage

Crazy First Round Between Askren And Lawler Ends With Controversial Stoppage

Ben Askren and Robbie Lawler's UFC 235 bout ended in controversy on Saturday night.

Former Bellator and ONE welterweight champion Askren was declared the winner. However, it was a stoppage called prematurely by referee Herb Dean.

The 34-year-old Askren locked in a bulldog choke on Lawler. The UFC veteran's arm subsequently went limp with Dean immediately calling a halt to the fight.

However, Lawler was not unconscious. As soon as Askren released his hold, Lawler was on his feet.

"Shit happens in there and sometimes mistakes are made," Lawler said in the post-fight press conference.

Herb checked on me and when he checked on me I gave him the thumbs up. I couldn't hear him talking because of how the choke was on.

I'm not just going to dangle a hand there so I put it down. Then when he checked, I gave him the thumbs up. I looked right at him, I was like, 'Hey man, fuck, I'm good.'

I wasn't choking. I was actually thinking that I could just pick him up and slam him. He was squeezing so damn hard, I was just like, 'Let him burn out his arm.' At least that's how it felt to me, I don't know how it looked on TV. It felt like he was wasting energy squeezing me when I wasn't getting choked.

He's a hell of a ref. He just made a mistake. Stuff happens. People make mistakes and I'm not one to whine about shit.

This was the moment of controversy.

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It was a hugely eventful round. Askren somehow survived an onslaught from Lawler in the opening moments after being slammed to the canvas.

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PJ Browne
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