Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ben Askren lands some verbal jabs

MMA fighter Ben Askren during a Skype interview
Ben Askren lands some verbal jabs
By Rick Olivares and Pok Estrella

THE SOCIAL STANDARD recently conducted a Skype interview with MMA fighter Ben Askren. And true to expectations, the curly-haired tough guy from Wisconsin provided some colorful commentary about his upcoming ONE FC match against Luis Santos, Georges St. Pierre, and performance enhancing drugs.

Askren, looked to be headed from Bellator to the UFC when he took a sudden turn… to Asia and its largest MMA promotion in ONE FC. The 30-year old fighter debunked any thought that he settled for whoever was left in the sweepstakes that left him hanging. “ONE FC is a growing organization they are already the biggest one in Asia by far and when it came down to it, they gave me the best offer and I saw the option to be a part of a great team so I took it,” he succinctly says. “It’s a win-win situation for me and for ONE FC.”

Askren’s two-year contract signing as well as the recent announcement that former UFC champion Rich Franklin (they also snagged top Brazilian fighter Bibiano Fernandes two years before)  has taken residence in ONE FC have put the young MMA outfit on the top of search engines.

TSS: You made short work of your first two ONE FC opponents. How do you see this fight with Luis Santos (61-9-1) who comes in with a sterling record?

Ben Askren: I expect it to go the way my last two fights did. I’m sure he’s tough but I’m a lot tougher. Regardless of who you are and what your record is, I have a style that is tough for anybody to deal with.

Those two guys I fought earlier, (Bakhtiyar Abbasov and Nobutatsu Suzuki) been tough guys with terrific records 12-2 and 11-1. But like I said, my style is unique. No one else who can emulate style. So when you’re fighting me, it’s like a brand new experience no matter what your record is whether you’re 11-1 or 62-9 whatever the hell Luis Santos’ record is.

Askren so far is 14-0 with a 2-0 record in the ONE FC with both wins coming in the first round via submission and a technical knockout. He has also dominated his foes with his superior wrestling. Coupled with his knowledge of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – the results have been explosive.

It is a fact that has been proven over and over. Six of the eight champions in the UFC have a strong wrestling base.

TSS: Is high-level wrestling the antidote to Brazilian jiu jitsu?

Ben Askren: It has been that way for a while. It’s not that wrestling is better than jiu jitsu. In mixed martial arts in 2015, you need a little of everything, striking, wrestling, jiu jitsu… you gotta know it all. It’s the best base in the ring and there is no arguing that. I think if he’s (a wrestler) a beginner and he has no striking he takes it to the mat. No problem. He’s fighting a great jiu jitsu guy, he brings it down because jiu jitsu guy can’t take it. So it’s a determiner where the fight is.

In Luis Santos’ last fight, he took down Abbasov in the first round to set up this explosive match-up with Askren.

TSS: He’s on a tear. His victims have been previously unbeaten fighters.

Ben Askren: (interrupting in a good and humorous sway) No, not Santos! You’re getting the wrong person. He doesn’t have a lot of good people on his record. He fights a lot of bums. That’s why he is there. I promise you he fights bums that is why his record is so good.

TSS: (breaking out into laughter) That’s fair enough. Thanks for setting the record straight. Okay, now we’d like to ask you about your opinion about the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). Recently, GSP said that the only time he will come back to the UFC is if the organization cleans up its PEDs act.

Ben Askren: It’s ironic that GSP is saying that. I think it’s great that the added testing is gonna enhance the competition. I’m a competitor first. There is a question, “Is MMA a sport or entertainment? It is both obviously. We all know if people are on PEDS they are going to fight longer and will look bigger. So entertainment-wise it makes it better.

The pure competitor in me wants to know who is the best competitor in the world without cheating? With PEDs it’s like giving one fighter a knife and the other a baseball bat. It’s like giving fighters a weapon. It’s giving fighters an unfair and undue advantage. That is kind of how I view this PEDs mess. Hopefully, the competition will be level because a lot of us don’t want to cheat. Because there are a lot of us who don’t want to take risks with our body. And we really don’t know yet the long-term effects of the use of PEDs.

Ben Askren will be headlining ONE FC: Valor of Champions on April 24, 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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