Will Ben Askrens style prevent him from becoming a star


Chael Sonnen


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can Ben Askren with that style be a star in the UFC I will tell you this because I were not the first person to ask me that question Ben Askren was boring this is the narrative Ben Askren was dull Ben Askren would never make it in this sport Ben Askren then went on to win World Championships in two different organizations in two different weight classes over a span of a number of years and has now amassed a record of 18 and oh so that dialogue went away but the Ben Askren is boring see that's never a fair one and some other guys have got plagued with that as well and there's that you can't shake it you just simply can't shake it when you get painted like that and I thought that this was gonna be a problem for Ben and it would take some time what I mean you can't shake it I don't mean you can't outrun that and out prove guys what you can't do is get people to change that dialogue without going in there and proving and changing I was in New York MSG Derek Lewis versus DC to paint an example November 3rd I was in New York when Ben Askren first got brought into the UFC and they sent him on media rounds and they put him in the front row of the audience and they put the camera on him and I wanted him to get a little something you know I like Joel they also put the camera on about five other people of which I can't name but some were movie stars I mean you know how they go around the show and they do the quick cameo nobody and I mean not even close got the reception of Ben Askren timer that what the hell is going on here these are the same people some of they shouldn't even know him I thought the dialogue was his fights aren't being seen as fights and it no one's watching Ben asked her I thought that was the dialogue how and this is a legitimate I actually don't know the answer it stunned me how do all these people know how did all these but when the camera went we've had number one contender's before where they put the camera on him and that crowd gives them a little something we've had champions beforehand the crowd gives a little something they put the camera on Ben Askren and that crowd without a doubt gave him the loudest roar of the evening over veterans of the Octagon over movie stars so you're asking me can been asked her become a star and I will respond to you and you won't believe me taste I can see by that you look on your face you don't believe me right now you will believe me when you get to Las Vegas and he makes his walk I assure you if that many people in New York at MSG for him to be in the crowd stood up and went crazy wait till he's actually got some work to do that's the only time will tell if I'm right but Joel I think I'm right okay but that style I get back into that style that style mm-hmm takes time to be has that style Matt Lindland had that style didn't have didn't necessarily have Ben's personality social media went around back then but can he win the fans because if he's going to win the big thing for me is listening to fighters in the room you'd mentioned when we talked about the team quest stories you had mentioned what you saw between Matt Lindland and other people in that room sure and I saw the same thing and it was a hard hard nut to crack when tea wood comes out and says guys you do not understand what that pressure feels like from the time you start sparring until it stops and he has a gas tank forever well if if if in fact let's not discount Robby let's not discount any of the guys that he would have to be but let's just say he does run through everybody blankets everybody Damian mayas everybody will that star shine okay so here here's the thing with that when you hear about you must finish fights when you hear about people want two guys to bang when you and this all goes in waves right the two guys to bang is kind of a little bit more of an antiquated term but certainly you remember the days where that's what we had to hear all the time when you hear about the finish fights and that is still a current and akka and accurate narrative but when you look at that these are broad strokes they are not fine points by example nobody has saw and this includes Conor McGregor and this could change if Conor fights a few more years but nobody has sold more ticket pay-per-views than George st. Pierre he started in 2002 simply nobody don't forget his window his longevity was so massive but over that tond and all these start in then they are stars brach and they are starting over tonton nobody has sold more tickets or t-shirts or paper views in George st. Pierre and George st. Pierre was not out there finishing guys he was not out there banging he was doing exactly what Ben Askren style is get through that get your hands on him drag him down observe the clock observe the 10-9 everything that the broad-strokes says you can't do I would not encourage anybody to go after the George st. Pierre that was a one-time deal but it's still the height of the mountain he still has he still made more money than anybody and I know the talk and people love the big nights and you know I mentioned Connor earlier and I mentioned Brock earlier Rhonda was largely exaggerated but still did well that was for a much shorter window the top of the mountain still is George and he goes outside of that box so could then do it and make up for it you know George made up for it how he made up for it with success he was a very handsome guy he kept himself very clean he was very worried about his public image he was never caught with a drinking in public or this you know fill in the blanks that we see some guy stuffing their toes on that's how he made up for it Ben has a little bit of a gimmick not for nothing but the shaggy hair is something not for nothing but going out and teasing everybody and making them upset and having you know this Marty from Nebraska thing and confronting him backstage and Ben handle it nice and calm and cool and going out the press conference and there's something to be made up for it so if you're asking me real simply if I believe that Ben Askren as a star first off I'm not sure he's not already we're gonna have to see from what I saw in New York and I was stunned at the reefs I can't possibly use rhetorical skills to explain to you and I was stunned at the reception he received so I'm not sure that he doesn't already have a level of that and then with some success you know particularly over guys like Robbie yeah I don't think that that style has a big problem that style is a big problem for an up-and-comer and Ben was not immune to that as an up-and-comer there wasn't really something to see there but whenever that's done enough times and say you know even I heard you reference Damien mine that was so true whether it was the blanket in the daemon hey people are looking at Danny and mine has been main event in some shows he's been headlining some of the smaller shows and now as he talks about his retirement the fans will hold on that style is so good and so dominant and you're changing the sport in many way and the sports ghost goes through waves right where you have the wrestler dominates everything for a while and let's try the Machida comes to the striker dominates there at for a while then it goes back to the mixed martial art for a while so you start to see those waves but Demian Maia is very representative of bringing that old wave back that people miss and I think in many ways Askren falls into that too