Ben Askren, the mixed martial arts fighter who is currently signed with UFC, announced his retirement from fighting on Monday during an interview with ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
"I'm retired from the sport of mixed martial arts and frankly, I'm retired from everything."@Benaskren cites needing a hip replacement as a factor in his retirement (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/OZLG2ZDTBj— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 18, 2019
The reason for Askren’s retirement is his health. His hip has been bothering him for years, and he needs to have it replaced.
Askren, 35, has been fighting for over a decade. He began wrestling in high school and continued in college, which led him to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He didn’t win a medal, but his professional MMA debut in February 2009 was just around the corner.
In addition to the brief time he recently spent with the UFC, Askren had successful relationships with Bellator and ONE Championship. He was the welterweight champion with both Bellator and ONE Championship, and fought his way to an incredible 19-0 record before he took his first loss.
That loss happened only a few months ago. Askren fought Jorge Masvidal at UFC 239 in June 2019 and made some dubious history: he was knocked out with a flying knee just five seconds into the first round, making it the fastest knockout in UFC history. He lost his next match to Demian Maia in late October, which would turn out to be the last fight of his career.
Askren’s hip problem bothered him quite a bit, and almost certainly affected his fighting. He didn’t reveal it, however, because he didn’t want to make any excuses.
Askren: I’ve never brought these hip issues up. I don’t want people to think that was the reason I lost. I lost because I wasn’t good enough. My opponents were better. I don’t want these to be viewed as excuses. #HelwaniShow— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) November 18, 2019
While his hip may be forcing him into retirement, he wants his career — even those final losses — to be measured and judged on its own merits. Thankfully, his exceptional career speaks for itself.
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