Ben Askren made his UFC debut at UFC 235, defeating former UFC Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler by first round submission.
That submission win was a controversial one in many peoples eyes, with one of them being UFC President Dana White.
“Bad stoppage,” White said at the UFC 235 post-fight press conference (via Chuck Mindenhall of MMA Fighting). “You know, we had a debate — me, the referee and the commission — over being choked out. I’ve been choked out many times before, too. And one of the things you don’t do, is jump right up and say, ‘what the f—k did you just do?’ It never happens that way. That was a bad stoppage, it happens. What are you going to do? It sucks, it was a good fight.”
Askren caught Lawler in a bulldog choke during the first round of their encounter and referee Herb Dean waved off the fight after thinking that Lawler was out cold, which he wasn’t.
White may not have liked the ending of the fight, but he does admit that Askren is a tough fighter.
“Obviously Askren’s tough as nails,” he said. “Lawler hit him with some...I mean, you guys saw him after, he looked like he’d been hit by a bus. And that damage was done in the first few seconds of the first round, and he came back. I don’t agree with the stoppage, like I said earlier. But it happens. These things happen, but he’s a tough guy.”
Lawler has called for a rematch against Askren after that controversial ending, but it has already been shot down by Askren.