He's 17-0. Undefeated and ready to take one the world. Young and still in his prime. Took absolutely no damage in his last two fights. So why retire? Ben Askren may not be the most entertaining fighter but his strong wrestling base has led him to one of the most dominant and impressive runs in professional mixed martial arts. He trains with former UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis and current UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. With all this success and potential it would be confusing why such a talented athlete would want to retire now. Askren only had 2 reason why but they are convincing.
1. Too many fighters and athletes retire too late
There's no question that mixed martial arts is a dangerous sport, especially as you age. Ben Askren explains how many fighter's legacies gets reduced from one or two poor performances. He wants to avoid this and go out on top and with his decision he's proved he is right. With nothing else to prove he can now enjoy his undefeated legacy and reduce the potential long term side effects of the sport like CTE and concussions. Is Ben Askren a coward for retiring now? or is he smart by preventing brain damage and cognitive dysfunction when he is older?
2. Being a high level fighter is a selfish pursuit
Ben explains, "If you are doing it right, competition should be a very selfish pursuit. you know when I was younger I said I'd be done by the age of 30 because I wanted to be able to give back. I thought I would be coaching, and I am. I thought I would be a parent, and I am. I didn't coach anyone for about 6 weeks before my last fight, because that was my time, I needed to get ready. There were things in my kid's life that I had to miss because this was my time, I had to get ready. " Being dedicated in one of the hardest sports in the world requires time and hard work.
Many fans don't see the long fight camps and they don't see how much time this sport can take away from their families. With an aging body and a craving to help others, his reasons for quitting is starting to make sense. It must be difficult to walk away from so much success but his reasons seems logical.
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