Exclusive | Ben Askren on UFC prohibiting fighters from betting: “It doesn’t make any sense!”

Ben Askren, UFC, Betting
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ben Askren believes it doesn’t make sense that fighters are now banned from betting on fights. 

The former MMA champion says he finds it interesting that the UFC have recently prohibited fighters from gambling on UFC fights. The company sent out a memo to all fighters regarding the new guidelines last month. 

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Before the change, fighters were able to place bets on themselves and any other fights. Askren told Lowkick MMA’s Mike Owens that it’s ‘sad’ that fighters are restricted from gambling on fights. 

“I fully understand why you can’t bet on yourself, totally understand that and I can even see teammates or relations and so maybe that’s why they did everybody?” Askren said. “If I’m a fighter and I enjoy watching fighting and I enjoy gambling, why can’t I gamble on fighters?”

“If I want to bet on myself to win, why can’t I bet on myself to win, you know? It doesn’t make any sense…I’ve always enjoyed gambling a little bit and obviously enjoy watching fighting so that’s kind of sad that dudes can’t bet on fights.”

Notably, the 38-year-old is an investor in Verdict MMA, a platform focused on real-time scoring and fight predictions.

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Ben Askren Gives Credit to Jake Paul 

Bettors were keeping an eye on the boxing match between Jake Paul and Anderson Silva. Paul secured a unanimous decision win over the MMA legend. The undefeated boxer has wins over Askren, Tyron Woodley and now Anderson Silva. 

Askren didn’t watch the fight but admits his former rival is a better boxer than most people thought. 

“He’s a lot better than everyone thought he was. It’s unfortunate and I’d say it’s probably most unfortunate for me because I’ve taken so much heat from losing to this freaking dude,” Askren said. “Just so it turns out, he’s actually not that bad at boxing. He just beat Anderson Silva who’s also a middleweight, so get lost everybody.”

The Iowa native had an interesting career in combat sports. He is a two-time NCAA champion for Missouri At 174 pounds. He also represented team USA in the 2008 Olympics. He then made the transition over to MMA, where he won and defended the Bellator and ONE welterweight championships on separate occasions. 

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Askren has written a new autobiography focused on the different paths in his career. The book was released on Oct. 25. 

“I’ve always been an avid reader ever since I was probably 10 years old. I really liked to read and sports biographies were my favorite topic. I would say it’s something  that I kind of always hoped I’d accomplished enough to be able to do.”