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ONE CEO: Asians want to see Ben Askren get beat up because he fulfills 'loudmouth' American stereotype

ONE Championship

Ben Askren isn't just a pro wrestling-esque heel in the United States. He's that way in Asia, too.

ONE Championship CEO Victor Cui told that Asians love to hate Askren, because he kind of represents the negative stereotype they have for Americans.

"I think in a lot of countries in Asia, they want to see the loudmouth, arrogant American get beat up," Cui said. "I'm not saying that is what Askren is. I'm not saying that about a champion. The stereotype of Americans in Asia is being loudmouth, arrogant and bragging, all this kind of stuff. That stereotype is what Asians want to see get beat up. Every time he does something he just gets attention in Asia."

Askren (14-0, 1 NC) is the ONE welterweight champion and a lightning rod in the states for his Twitter persona and back-and-forth war of words with UFC president Dana White. In Asia, Askren gets heat just for speaking his mind, Cui said. Before he won the title, Askren called out then-champion Nobutatsu Suzuki after a win in Singapore in May 2014. The fans jeered.

"He's like, 'I want that title belt. I'm coming for it and it's mine,'" Cui said. "Just something like that, right? Really normal in my opinion. And he got booed. He just won the fight and he was asking for a title shot. 'I'm coming for that belt, it's mine. You just watch.' And the audience went boo, boo."

Trash talk is hard to come by with Asian fighters, many of whom represent traditional martial arts. On Saturday, ONE will make its debut in Myanmar with an event headlined by bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes defending his title against Toni Tauru. ONE is one of the first major sporting events to come to Myanmar since the country has eased its foreign relations over the last three years.

ONE continues to break new ground across Asia. However, Cui, as a promoter, wishes there was a little more healthy smack talk among his fighters to draw attention. But he is not optimistic about that changing any time soon.

"It's more likely that you'll see Asians get better at showboating and being entertainers," Cui said. "It's more likely that they would do that. They'll come out with dramatic entrances and huge entourages and dye their hair and come out in costumes. It's more likely that you'll see that entertainment side of a fighter as opposed to trying to step on someone else and push them down."

Fernandes is one of the best fighters in the world in his weight class. So is Askren. They are two of ONE's biggest building blocks, both in Asia and in the Western Hemisphere. Askren is a former Bellator champion and has been dominant in almost all of his fights -- until a no contest against Luis Santos at ONE 26 in April.

Askren, 30, was losing the first round until accidentally poking Santos in the face. The Brazilian was unable to continue and the bout was waved off. Cui said he wants to make the rematch "as soon as possible," but there's no date set yet.

"I think that's the genius of [ONE matchmaker] Matt Hume right there for that matchup," Cui said. "He knew it was going to be an exciting title match. I think the great fights for the title are ones where you can have an upset. Clearly, that's what was happening. Nobody wants to see a fight where the champion has a 100 percent chance of winning.

"To me, [Santos] was starting to look gassed already. They both had some challenges."

No matter when and where the fight happens, Askren will almost certainly get booed. Cui sees it as a positive thing. Not only can fighters in the region learn from Askren's superior wrestling ability -- something that doesn't really exist in Asia -- maybe they can take a page out of his book with regards to being vocal, too.

"I'd like to see some trash talk," Cui said. "We need some bad guys. That's always great. That stuff has just got to happen on its own."

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