clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ben Askren 'would have leaned toward' not taking Kelvin Gastelum fight if he were Tyron Woodley

New, comments
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS -- Ben Askren will be in Tyron Woodley's corner Saturday night. But it sounds like he would prefer not to be out there at all.

The ONE FC welterweight champion isn't sure Woodley should have agreed to the bout with Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 183 after Gastelum missed weight by nine pounds Friday. Gastelum will forfeit 30 percent of his purse to Woodley as per Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) rules.

"I would have leaned toward not taking it, because 30 percent of 20 grand is $6,000," Askren told MMAFighting.com on Friday night at the Fighters Only World MMA Awards. "If you take a loss, that's gonna knock him way down. It's almost like it's not even a fair loss, because the guy didn't even come close to making weight. It's a welterweight fight. He didn't agree to fight at a catchweight of 180. And so it's a huge advantage for that guy, who obviously struggles and he's obviously big for the weight class."

Gastelum seemed to have a hellish Friday. His coach Chance Farrar of Yuma MMA told MMAFighting.com that Gastelum was "unresponsive," vomiting and had to be taken to the hospital. An illness he had earlier in the week had not fully left his system and Gastelum paid the price as he got closer to hitting the 171-pound welterweight maximum.

Askren doesn't seem to be too sympathetic to Gastelum's plight.

"Ten pounds is just completely unprofessional and absurd," he said.

Askren and Woodley were college wrestling teammates at powerhouse Missouri and Woodley did a few weeks of his camp with Askren's team at Roufusport. Askren and Duke Roufus, the head coach, will be in Woodley's corner Saturday night.

"I came to fight and fight we shall," Woodley told MMAFighting.com in a statement Friday. "I don't need a pat on the back for making weight. It's my profession and that's what professionals do. I've never missed weight. I came to win anyway so him missing weight didn't open up a window of opportunity. I'm sure the organization, his team, his fans and himself are all embarrassed enough! I don't need to point out the obvious, but instead [I'll] stay focused and stick to my original gameplan. WIN!"

UFC president Dana White told Combate that Gastelum would have to move up to middleweight after this bout. It's his second time missing weight in the UFC and he has had tough cuts in the past.

Askren said he understands where his friend Woodley is coming from, but he would have given a long look to just saying forget it and not going through with the bout.

"I definitely would have thought about that," Askren said. "I've been vocal about this in the past. MMA, in general, gives guys who don't make weight too much leeway. Because it's bullsh*t. It really is."