Twitter is one of the most important and used communication tools available to anyone today, but it can often be a medium that's hard to use correctly. In replying to a tweet from ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren, former WSOF welterweight champion and recent UFC signee Josh Burkman wrote the following:
Reading the tweet literally, it sounds as if Burkman is admitting he threw a fight to get out of a contract, which would then enable him to sign with another organization. If true, that's both illegal and unethical.
When contacted for verification, Burkman told MMA Fighting the tweet was anything but serious.
"No, I'm totally just being a smart ass to Ben Askren," he says. "If you know my personality, it's very sarcastic. I don't take many things really too serious."
According to Burkman, Askren's needling of the UFC in interviews or social media is something he says reflects the former Bellator welterweight champion's desire to be in the UFC even though he isn't. It's something Burkman says he felt when he was outside of the world's top promotion, which is how he says he's able to identify it.
"Ben Askren was like, 'this dude gets beat up by Steve Carl and then UFC gives him a number 3 fighter in the world'. Askren is just constantly saying stuff about the UFC and this and that and calling people out. I really believe that that's it. He's winning Bellator's belt. He's winning [ONE FC]'s belt. He should be happy with where he's at and what he's doing.
"But he's obviously really bitter," he argues. "Even when I was in the World Series of Fighting, when I was in these other organizations, the belt I thought about was the UFC belt. The motivation and what I wanted back was to be back in the UFC. So now that I'm back in the UFC and I see Ben Askren's saying that, I know why he's upset. He's upset because he's not there and he wants to be."
As for the purpose of saying a fight was thrown, "then it was just sarcasm in the Steve Carl thing. I don't care about that belt, anyway. There's only one I want.
"I would never lose a fight on purpose. Absolutely not," Burkman says forcefully. "I just like talking smack on Twitter sometimes. There will be plenty more of it."