Ben Askren on Wednesday shot down Jake Paul’s claim that he will forfeit his entire fight purse if he tries any MMA moves in their boxing match.
“False,” Askren wrote on Twitter in response to Paul’s claim in an interview with MMA Junkie that his bout agreement contains a clause forbidding MMA moves. Paul added he offered a folkstyle wrestling rematch with Askren after Saturday’s pay-per-view at Triller Fight Club on Saturday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
A person with knowledge of the fighters’ contracts told MMA Fighting that Askren will receive “a couple” of warnings and could be disqualified in the event he uses an MMA move in the boxing match. But that would not mean Askren forfeits his purse, and nothing in the contract reflects that.
“He does not automatically lose that is not in the contract and not true,” said the source, who requested anonymity to freely discuss negotiations.
Matt Woodruff, the executive director of the Georgia Athletic and Entertainment Commission, said no special rules have been put into place for the eight-round professional boxing match, which will be contested as a cruiserweight bout with the combatants expecting to weigh around 190 pounds.
“Obviously, Ben is a former MMA fighter, so we’ll have a conversation with him in the locker room to note that it’s boxing, and there will be no takedowns,” he told MMA Fighting. “But in terms of sanctions or anything Jake has said, nothing has been relayed to us. We’ll have a rules meeting with all the fighters individually before the fight.”
Woodruff added both fighters’ corners will be instructed not to exceed the two-person limit on cornermen backstage and ringside.
Triller Fight Club’s pay-per-view on Saturday is the second to feature Paul, a YouTube celebrity who transitioned to boxing and delivered a viral knockout of Nate Robinson on the undercard of the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jone Jr. event. Askren, a former ONE Championship and Bellator champ, makes his debut as a pro boxer after a decorated career in the cage and on the wrestling mat. Paul and Askren sparred verbally and nearly tussled at the event’s press conference this past month.