YouTube star Jake Paul knocked out UFC veteran Ben Askren in the first round of their main event at the Triller Fight Club celebrity boxing event on Saturday night, securing his fastest win by laying out the mixed martial artist with a hard right rook.
Paul ended the fight card in devastating fashion by knocking Askren out at the 1:59 mark in the first round of the match at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Paul was the aggressor for pretty much the entire bout, with Askren landing few, if any punches.
The YouTube-personality-turned-boxer blistered Askren with a right hand that sent him face-first to the canvas. Askren took the mandatory eight count and made it back to his feet. It appeared that things would continue but the referee waved the fight off even though Askren said he was ready to go.
Askren protested the stoppage, but the replay did show that, as the referee told Askren to walk forward, he moved sideways at the same time.
Watch the video below:
Askren was shown walking backstage smiling after the bout, apparently in good spirits after making $500,000 in disclosed pay for the bout.
Was Askren Paid to Lose?
The short fight has now sparked speculation on Twitter that the fight was "rigged" and Askren was paid to lose. While some pointed out the lack of injuries on Askren, others shared a previous clip of the former UFC champion enduring and overcoming a barrage of blows by his opponent, Robbie Lawler, in a 2019 fight he eventually won.
"The Jake Paul fight was rigged and/or Askren didn't care. This is what Askren can overcome when he's trying, nothing on the planet can convince me that punch got him. Really good money making scheme though," a Twitter user captioned a clip from the Askren vs Lawler match.
"The Jake Paul fight def wasn't rigged, I mean look at the injuries on Ben Askren. I hope he recovers. #TrillerFightClub," another tweeted sarcastically alongside footage of an unscathed, seemingly happy Askren after Saturday night's fight.
Here are some of the other reactions:
Paul: 'This is for Real'
"It's been four months, I've been in training camp every day," Paul said in the post-match interview. "I deserve this shit. I don't know how many times I have to prove myself that this is for real."
Paul's Saturday night victory improves his professional boxing record to 3-0, with his previous wins coming against fellow YouTuber AnEsonGib and former NBA player Nate Robinson. Askren opens, and likely closes, his boxing career with a loss, but comes away with a major payday.