Ben Askren has worn a number of hats over the course of his illustrious fighting career. In addition to wrestling in the Olympics, he’s also been a mixed martial artist and is currently signed to the UFC.
Ben Askren's net worth in 2023 has been pegged at $500,000. Since he began his professional fighting career, he has participated in 22 fights, taking home the W in 19 of them. Let’s take a closer look at how he made his way to this stage of his career.
Ben Askren's Childhood
He was born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa before making the move to Wisconsin as a child. As the son of a high school wrestling coach, it is easy to see why Ben Askren took the world of fighting so easily.
His mother also happened to be a three-time state champion in high school track and field, so his destiny seemed to be set from a pretty young age. By the time he was six years old, Ben was already on the wrestling team and showcasing his talents.
It was not long before he began to separate himself from the pack. Ben continued to wrestle into his high school years and by this time, he had ascended into rarefied air.
Considered one of the country’s best wrestlers, he had his choice of where to attend college. After taking home a state championship of his own as a high school senior, he attended the University of Missouri.
Ben Askren's College Years
From there, he became a four-time All-American, firmly establishing himself as a name to watch in the future. He became one of the top wrestlers in the NCAA, winning the Dan Hodges Trophy on multiple occasions.
Askren also won a national championship during his Missouri enrollment. Once he completed his studies, he furthered his wrestling ambitions by competing in the Olympics.
After making the 2008 Summer Olympics, he decided that it was time to make the next step. He ended his wrestling career and made the jump into the world of mixed martial arts.
By early 2009, he was already competing in professional bouts. His first match took place in February 2009. He defeated Josh Flowers, winning by a technical knockout.
Ben Askren's Mixed Martial Arts Career
As soon as Askren got his first win under his belt, he was off and running. He won his first nine bouts before getting the invite to Bellator 64. After defeating Douglas Lima, he was able to run his record up to 10-0.
His success continued, as he took home victories in his first 19 matches. Askren did have one match end in a no contest.
His fight against Luis Santos ended under these circumstances through no fault of Askren’s. An accidental eye poke led to the no contest decision but he was allowed to remain as the ONE Welterweight Champion.
Ben Askren’s UFC Alliance
After all of these successes, there was only one alliance left for Askren to make. He signed with Dana White in 2019 but this stretch was not as successful for him as his previous ones.
The success that he saw in the worlds of mixed martial arts and wrestling would prove to be hard to replicate. He did have some initial success, though.
In March 2019, he won his first match against Robbie Lawler by technical submission. This is the only win that he would have during his UFC stint.
Following his win over Lawler, he competed against Jorge Masvidal and Demian Maia, losing both matches. The Maia match was a UFC Fight Night headliner and Fight of the Night. In 2021, Askren would retire from the UFC and take on his highest-profile challenge yet.
Ben Askren vs Jake Paul
As YouTube personality Jake Paul looked to make his transition into the fighting world, he slowly built his way up. His first fight took place in January 2020, as he earned his first victory over fellow YouTube personality AnEsonGib.
After winning by TKO in the first round, Paul fought former NBA player Nate Robinson in November 2020.
Robinson fared a bit better than AnEsonGib, lasting until the second round before he lost by TKO. At this time, the skeptics wanted to see Paul take on someone with actual fighting experience.
This is where Ben Askren came into play. The two had an animated back and forth on social media, setting the stage for a highly anticipated bout.
Askren Gracious In Defeat
Askren lost the fight but his profile was raised significantly in the process. The match is said to have been purchased by nearly 1.5 million pay per view buyers.
Dana White even promised to wager $1 million on Askren defeating Paul, while Snoop Dogg decided to match White’s wager, placing $2 million on Jake Paul.
Paul’s youth and height advantage proved to be a tough match for Askren, who had undergone a hip replacement surgery before the fight was scheduled.
While Askren did lose by TKO, the results were considered to be a bit controversial. Askren was felled by an overhand right during the first round but he would soon rise to his feet.
The referee, believing Askren to be unsteady, decided to call off the fight. Askren, for his part, believed that the fight could have gone on and he apologized to the world for the defeat.
“Sorry world,” he tweeted in the aftermath of the loss. “I thought I was fine but you know whatever, that’s his job and that’s what he did,” he said, speaking on the referee who put a stop to the fight. “I’m going to take over a million dollars home to the bank and I’m going to coach wrestling,” Askren concluded.
How Did Ben Askren Amass His Net Worth?
Askren has never struggled for money throughout the course of his career. That does not mean that he has not found ways to bolster his earnings as time has gone on, though.
He managed to earn his largest payouts once he signed with the UFC, as have many fighters of his ilk. For example, he took home the biggest payday of his career when he first signed with Dana White.
His UFC debut against Robbie Lawler led to a six-figure payday. He earned roughly $200,000 for participating in the bout and won an additional $150,000 as part of a win bonus. His next fight against Jorge Masvidal brought him a $213,500 payout. After taking home an additional $263,500 for the Damien Maia fight, his total UFC earnings came to a total of $830,500.
Ben Askren’s Biggest Payday
Of course, no one should be surprised that Ben Askren’s biggest payday came as a direct result of his bout with Jake Paul.
Jake and his brother Logan did a great job of stoking anticipation for the match, as there was a sizable amount of social media trash-talking leading up to the bout. Askren participated but it was all in good fun.
He took home a $500,000 payday in defeat and has since spoken of wanting to step away from fighting to become a coach. It remains to be seen as to whether he is truly done as a fighter but we look forward to seeing what Askren plans on doing next.
Ben Askren’s Media Involvement
It is easy to envision a world where Ben Askren does end up taking a step back from the fighting world, as he has already begun to build a name for himself in the media world.
Someone with his level of experience in multiple combat sports certainly has a lot to offer in this regard. He is now making his presence known in the podcasting community, as he co-hosts a few different weekly podcasts.
In addition to his co-hosting duties on FloWrestling Radio Live, The Funky & FRB Show and The T-Row & Funky Show, he has made guest appearances on a wide range of other popular podcasts. Joe Rogan and Lex Friedman have invited him onto their wildly popular podcasts, allowing him to make an even greater name for himself.
The Release of Askren’s Autobiography
Podcasting is not the only medium that Askren has become more closely involved with in recent years. As he begins to take more of a retrospective look at his fighting career, Askren signed a deal to release his own autobiography.
This is not a decision that he came to lightly and he says that he spent two years crafting his “captivating” book.
Funky: My Defiant Path Through The Wild World of Combat Sports has been referred to as a precise and thorough piece of storytelling. He gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the most crucial milestones of his fighting career, letting them know more about the Jake Paul fight and how he qualified for the Olympics.
Askren takes great pains to present his story in the most humble manner possible. It would be tempting for a lot of fighters to point to their family background and claim that they were destined for greatness.
Instead, Askren portrays himself as someone who was not the most talented but was able to make it due to his relentless work ethic. “The book is entertaining,” Askren said. “You’ll learn something, you’ll gain some knowledge, and you’re going to enjoy the story.”
He even takes the time to acknowledge that Jake Paul’s skill level was much higher than he expected while placing the onus on himself for not being properly prepared.
“That loss, it’s obviously not ideal,” he shared. “But it happened. I don’t let it consume me. I was undefeated, I was kept out of the UFC by Dana White, and I finally broke in. All I had to do was beat Jorge Masvidal to get a title shot. And I totally messed it up.”
“The unfortunate reality of the situation is Jake Paul was a much better boxer than I anticipated. I was coming off the hip surgery, I was so fat, and I was just getting back into shape.
There were very few moments in my career when I wasn’t pursuing a takedown. That was my strategy. Boxing was never my forte. I was hoping he sucked, thought he’d hit me, it wouldn’t hurt, he’d gas out, and I’d beat him up. I gambled wrong on that one,” Askren concluded.
Ben Askren Spending Habits
While Askren is not typically known as an outlandish spender, he does have some expensive habits that he likes to indulge in. He is a big fan of expensive cars but that does not mean that he spends all of his money on them.
This is something that he is very proud of, as he does not believe in acquiring the type of habits that would require him to chase big fighting paydays when he is already past his physical prime.
Askren is an avowed family man who was said to be in fighting retirement when he got the call to fight Jake Paul. He was more than happy to partake in all of the trash talk during the lead-up to the bout. But, he does not feel the need to spend big or live in a flashy manner. His Lamborghini was part of his prize for winning The One Championship and he prides himself on living modestly.
“I don’t care about having a fancy car,” Askren has been quoted as saying in the past. “I don’t have a lot of the wants and needs that a lot of people have where I would need to make a $1 million a fight.”
Askren’s Future Remains Bright
Now that Askren seems content to spend time with his family, record podcasts and write books, it is easy to see what the future holds for him.
He can comfortably hold court on a wide range of fighting-related topics and has the necessary humility to make outsiders feel as if they are a part of the story. It would not be surprising to see his net worth continue to climb as he grows more comfortable with his media role.
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Written by Allen Lee
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