MMA Fighter Challenges People to Punch Him in the Face, Everyone Fails

Tag: Ben Askren

Interview: Duke Roufus Discusses GLORY, The Pettis Brothers, And the Chaotic Art of Striking


(Roufus [at far left] with Sergio Pettis, Anthony Pettis, Ben Askren, and Roufusport BJJ coach Daniel Wanderley. Photo via Dave Mandel/Sherdog.)

By Elias Cepeda

Duke Roufus had an illustrious career as a kickboxer before becoming even more well-known as an MMA coach. In recent years, his highly regarded Roufusport camp has produced such talents as UFC champion Anthony Pettis, his younger brother Sergio, and former Bellator champ Ben Askren. In advance of the Glory 13 event in Tokyo this Saturday that Roufus is doing color commentary for, CagePotato sat down with him to look back on the twists and turns of his career, and look towards the future of some of his biggest stars.

CAGEPOTATO.COM: What would you say your role with Glory is, Duke? We hear and see you doing color commentary during events but when you were in Chicago last fall, you also had a big presence in all sorts of other pre-event activities.

DUKE ROUFUS: Well, about ten years ago they had me do color commentary for K-1 on pay-per-view broadcasts. This was really a natural progression when they came back with Glory. My role is that of a color commentator but I’m also just a huge kickboxing enthusiast. I love the sport. I’m just as big a fan as a participant.

We’ve always heard Joe Rogan talk about “K-1 level striking” in certain UFC fighters — meaning that a particular guy had great striking, so much so that he could survive in K-1, which was recognized as the top kickboxing promotion in the world. Has Glory replaced K-1 in that role?

Yeah, for sure. K-1 just struggled internally. Japanese kickboxing and MMA have had some internal issues. The guys from Glory have really stepped up. They are also huge kickboxing enthusiasts. Now, all the best fighters are fighting for Glory. We also did something similar to what MMA did with unified rules, and we’ve tried to set that up for kickboxing. We want to make it a fan-friendly fight. The fans can really tune in and enjoy the fights. We created a rule set that makes it fun for the fan.

As an expert kickboxer and one who knows Muay Thai so well, don’t you think that the Glory rules could be better, though? You have many fighters who have trained and competed under full Muay Thai rules — using elbows, using the clinch, using sweeps — and now they get to this point and they’re not allowed to use these effective weapons.

Well, with those things allowed, the tournaments would have a different outcome, that’s for sure. There would be more cuts from elbows and so more guys wouldn’t be able to move on in the tournament. And clinching is how you defend not getting elbowed.

The uneducated fan boos when the clinch happens. Uneducated MMA fans do the same thing when Jiu Jitsu happens in a fight. I understand clinching and the art of it. I understand trips and dumps. Unfortunately here in America, people want to see big punches and big kicks. It can be difficult to understand Muay Thai. Even the scoring is a little difficult to follow. Kickboxing is very similar to boxing. That makes it easy to follow.

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Could Ben Askren vs. Phil Baroni(‘s Imploded Ankle) Actually Be Close to Happening?

You guys, I don’t claim to be a prophet all that often, save for when I accurately predict which chef will be eliminated each round on Chopped, but today is one of those days.

When it was first announced that Ben Askren was (somewhat inexplicably) headed to One FC some two days ago, I suggested that the former Bellator kingpin take on Phil Baroni in his promotional debut. It was the fight I wanted to see, and therefore, the fight fans wanted to see. Perhaps most importantly, Baroni is the only other member of the One FC welterweight roster I could name off the top of my head, so how could this fight not make perfect sense?

In any case, you can understand my excitement when opening up the Twitter earlier today to see the above tweet. Because as boring as Ben Askren truly is in the cage, he is equally entertaining online. And it turns out that the following tweet was only part of what was a beautiful back and forth between Askren and Baroni, a back and forth that is sure to lead to a future showdown pairing old guard against new guard despite the fact that the old guard’s body is literally disintegrating beneath him.

Join us after the jump for what will surely go down in the history books as the catalyst to the greatest MMA feud of all time.

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Ben Askren Joins Evolve MMA, Likely Headed to…One FC (?!!!)


(Askren, seen here attempting to grapple with the current One FC welterweight champion.)

Poor, poor Ben Askren.

Despite being one of the most talented/accomplished wrestlers in the sport (if not the most talented/accomplished), and despite his blatant attempts at trolling his way into the UFC, it seems that “Funky” simply does not meet the standard of the world’s premier MMA organization. If only he had been born in Tuvalu, perhaps this glaring oversight could have been avoided. Dana White recently spoke with USA Today about the former Bellator champion’s future:

He’s a nice guy. You know, we just won’t be signing him. There’s competition for him at World Series of Fighting. This kid will probably sign with them. I don’t know (since) they’ve got to come to an agreement and a deal. But if he does, there’s actual competition for him there.

I think it’s crazy that he’s ranked in the top 10. He hasn’t fought anybody (Ed note: Way to kick Jay Hieron while he’s down) and has no challenges. The best thing that could’ve ever happened to that kid was leaving Bellator. Now he has the opportunity to go to World Series of Fighting and show what he’s got.

You’re right, Dana. There is plenty of some competition to be had at WSOF. Unfortunately, it appears that Askren is well on his way to signing with One FC, who we weren’t even aware had a welterweight division until earlier today. Join us after the jump for the details.

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Rousimar Palhares Is World Series of Fighting’s Problem Now


(Palhares would later describe this moment as “the first time I’ve ever been on an airplane.” / Props: @ToquinhoMMA)

When it comes to picking up the UFC’s leftovers, World Series of Fighting and Bellator have displayed two very different approaches. While Bellator tends to sign the most washed-up UFC castoffs in order to make their home-grown fighters look impressive when they beat the UFC guys (or to create negative buzz around a surely-doomed PPV), World Series of Fighting tries to pick up the best UFC castoffs available, in the hopes that fighters like Anthony Johnson, Miguel Torres, Jon Fitch, and Yushin Okami are famous enough to draw fans on their own. Bellator would rather avoid having champions who weren’t good enough to keep their jobs with Zuffa. For World Series of Fighting, having a UFC veteran win a belt is the kind of promotional hook they’ve been working towards all along.

I mention all of that to help explain why World Series of Fighting has just signed Rousimar Palhares to a multi-fight contract. Yes, he’s been bounced out of the UFC for causing undue injury to his opponents, and any organization that signs him isn’t doing the sport any favors. On the other hand, Palhares is incredibly talented, a ferocious fight-finisher, a consistent generator of controversy and awesome GIFs — the kind of athlete that any B-level MMA league (besides Bellator) would kill to get their hands on.

Palhares is expected to make his WSOF debut in March, against an opponent to be named later. Jon Fitch has already pre-emptively turned down the fight, but matching Toquinho up against another American wrestler is a possibility. As MMAJunkie reports:

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Friday Link Dump: UFC Passes on Askren, The Most Brutal MMA Matches Ever, Why You’re Not Getting Laid + More


(Nick Offerman’s moustache sings and dances for your amusement in this new Movember promo from MadeMan. Don’t question it. Just donate.)

Today’s must-see: Every single awkward moment and broadcasting fail from UFC 2 (CagePotatoMMA.tumblr.com)

Twenty Years of UFC: The Changes, the Styles and the Future (BleacherReport)

Dana White: UFC Isn’t Interested in Signing Undefeated Ben Askren (MMAFighting)

Johny Hendricks First Realized KO Power With Arcade-Style Punching Machine (MMAJunkie)

The 50 Most Brutal MMA Matches of All Time (Complex)

Controversy Surrounds Star-Ledger’s Report on Brain Injuries in MMA (BloodyElbow)

Exclusive: Jessica Aguilar is Excited for WSOF’s WMMA Future (MMAFrenzy)

MMA Fan Art of the Day — “The Showtime Kick” (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

James Harden’s Feet Are Tough to Look At (TerezOwens)

Gallery: The Funniest Cheerleader Faces Ever (WorldWideInterweb)

A 17-Year-Old Killed His Dad Over a Megan Fox Joke (FilmDrunk)

Disney Princesses as Tattooed Pinup Girls (HiConsumption)

Epic Vine Compilation of the Day (DoubleViking)

10 Reasons You’re Not Getting Laid (MensFitness)

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Ben Askren *Released* by Bellator (!) For Being “A Completely One-Dimensional, Utterly Dominant Fighter”


(Bjorn Rebney: Putting the “backhand” in “backhanded compliment” since 2008.)

You gotta love the Bellator business model, Nation. Two aging, injury-prone UFC stars who are 3-7 in their past 10 combined? BUILD A PPV AROUND THEM, DAMMIT. A longstanding (albeit incredibly boring) champion who has dominated every last opponent placed before him? LET HIM SPREAD HIS WINGS AND FLY, DAMMIT.

And so goes the Bellator career of welterweight champion Ben Askren, who was released into the murky waters of unrestricted free agency earlier today. A press release sent out this morning has the details:

Ben Askren is now an unrestricted free agent after Bellator released the undefeated welterweight. The Bellator Welterweight World Title will be vacant until Douglas Lima faces the winner of the Season 9 Welterweight Tournament later this winter when the new Bellator Welterweight Champion will be crowned.

“I’ve said it many times, Ben’s a completely one-dimensional fighter who is utterly dominant in that dimension,” (Ed note: BUUUUUURRRRNNNN?!) Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “I had a number of discussions with Ben and it became clear it was time for both parties to move in different directions. We’ve relinquished any right to match here and Ben can sign with whoever he chooses to sign with. Ben’s been at Bellator since the start of his career, I respect him and what he’s accomplished and wish him the best wherever he goes.”

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Friday Link Dump: Palhares Catches Four-Month Suspension From Brazilian Athletic Commission, GSP’s Training Camp Secret Weapon, Ket Kelley Gets Naked-er + Much More


(You will learn so much about oil refinery turnarounds from this video. Or maybe you won’t. But either way, holy crap @ those jugs. / Props: Guyism)

Rousimar Palhares Issued 120-Day Suspension from Brazilian Athletic Commission (BleacherReport)

Only Fighter to Beat Johny Hendricks Helping Georges St-Pierre Prepare for Title Fight (MMAFighting)

Invicta FC 7 slated for Dec. 7 with three title fights, Honchak-Smith Headliner (MMAJunkie)

Kat Kelley Is Taking More of Her Clothes Off on MIMP. Get in Here Right Now. (MeInMyPlace, kinda NSFW)

Report: Bellator Will Waive Contractual Rights to Ben Askren if ‘Funky’ Gets Immediate UFC Title Shot (MMAMania)

UFC: Chuck Liddell Will Be Murder Suspect on FOX Hit Series ‘Bones’ (BloodyElbow)

‘Frank Shamrock: Bound by Blood’ Is a Must-See Documentary for All the Right Reasons (FightOpinion)

Now THAT is a broken nose… (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

How to Work Out and Exercise with ACL Injuries (MensFitness)

The Sexy Women of ‘Machete Kills’ (MadeMan)

The 25 Most Shocking Sports Moments of the Past 25 Years (Complex)

8 Examples of People Taking Things Too Literally (DoubleViking)

The YouTube Comments Choir (WorldwideInterweb)

The Best Halloween Vines (Break)

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Bellator CEO Appears Ready to Let Welterweight Champ Askren Leave for the UFC


(I would totally wear that shirt. But if somebody asks me who it’s supposed to be, I’d tell them it’s Rob Tyner. / Photo via MMADiehards)

Former Olympic wrestler Ben Askren is undefeated in 12 fights since he began fighting MMA in 2009, has won his last two by TKO, and has beaten many of the best welterweights outside of the UFC. It’s little wonder why fans have been curious how the Bellator welterweight champion would do against the best in the world in the UFC and even champion Georges St. Pierre, if only because of Askren’s superb wrestling.

In the not so distant past, however, Askren has gone above and beyond to be a company man for Bellator and has insisted he had no interest in the UFC. Fine, we don’t like you anyway, you’re boring and not pretty, UFC President Dana pretty much responded.

But last week, when White was asked whether the UFC would speak with Askren, whose contract is up with Bellator, White said that his promotion would indeed talk to the 2008 U.S. Olympic Freestlye wrestler.

That was trippy enough, but it’s a testament to the fact that the UFC usually seeks out the best fighters in the world, no matter how popular or “exciting” MMA fans or White himself think they are. Bellator, however, seems to be taking a different approach.

While the organization has been snapping up aging and losing former UFC fighters left and right, their CEO now says that they are not even interested in re-signing Askren — a home grown elite fighter of their own.

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Friday Link Dump: Return of the Fedor-Sweater, Brian Bowles Suspended Nine Months, The 25 Greatest WWE Trash-Talkers + More


(“Flip Kick Knock Out: Girl Edition,” via Break.com)

The allure of the Fedor-sweater has not diminished… (Facebook.com/CagePotato)

Nevada Commission Suspends Brian Bowles 9 Months for Failed UFC 160 Drug Test (Sherdog)

Dana White Expresses Interest in Signing Bellator Champ Ben Askren (MMAFighting)

Invicta FC Champ Cris ‘Cyborg’ Books Muay Thai Bout at Lion Fight 11 (MMAJunkie)

UFC and Dana White Seem to Prefer Blissful Ignorance on PED Use in the Sport (BloodyElbow)

Behind The Scenes Photos From Brittney Palmer’s 2014 Calendar Shoot (TerezOwens)

The 25 Greatest Trash Talkers in WWE History (Complex)

What Women Really Think About Your Dating Profile (MadeMan)

Gathering of the Juggalos Tour Diary: Day 1 (FilmDrunk)
Gathering of the Juggalos Tour Diary: Day 2 (FilmDrunk)

The Screen Junkies Show: Hottest Animated Characters (ScreenJunkies)

20 Honest Website Slogans (WorldwideInterweb)

Seven Bad Habits That Could Actually Make You Healthier (MensFitness)

What Happens When You Drive Full Speed Into a Parking Lot? (EgoTV)

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Bellator 97 Videos + Results: Chandler Destroys Rickels, Askren Dominates Koreshkov in Far Less Entertaining Fashion


(Video via MMAJunkie)

Maybe one day there will be a Bellator lightweight contender who’s talented enough to defeat champion Michael Chandler — but it ain’t gonna be the dinosaur guy. (No offense.)  Season 8 lightweight tournament winner David Rickels had a good head of steam going into his title challenge against Chandler last night at Bellator 97, with four straight wins including a TKO of Saad Awad back in March. But against a truly world-class lightweight, the Caveman was in way over his head.

As you can see in the video above, Rickels didn’t even have a chance to get started. Chandler swarmed as soon as he staggered Rickels with a right straight, landing more follow-up power shots and diving after Rickels when the challenger hit the mat. In just 44 seconds, Rickels was unconscious and Michael Chandler (now 12-0 overall) had made his second title defense with another fearsome display of killer instinct.

Chandler’s next fight will likely come against Dave Jansen, the Season 7 lightweight tournament winner who hasn’t been able to face Chandler yet due to injury. Jansen is 6-0 in Bellator, and is clearly the most qualified man for the job. And yet, we can’t help but wonder how Chandler would stack up against some of the top 155′ers in the UFC — not like that would ever happen.

Speaking of dominant Bellator champions who could use a higher level of competition…

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