Askren vs Thomas ref stoppage controversy


 In the featured bout of the evening on Thursday night at Bellator 14, 2008 Olympian Ben Askren caught Ryan Thomas in an Arm-In Guillotine. The referee stopped the contest at 2:40 of the first round, believing Thomas was out. This was heatedly denied by many fans, as well as Thomas himself.

Below is a gif of the stoppage, and audio with transcription of the post fight press conference exchange between Askren and Thomas.


Ben Askren:
"When I was in the cage I didn't know what happened. Because from my postion throwijng a choke on, I couldn't see what happened."

"Ryan it was pretty tight, I don't think you were getting out and you might have even been asleep so I think it's time for you to accept defeat graciously."

Ryan Thomas:
"The Choke he had one side blocked off the other side was fine. If I did more squirming it only would have made the choke tighter. It's not his fault, it's just a bad call by the referee."

"Next season, I really want to fight that referee first fight."





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Recent Comments »

Bewts site profile image  

4/17/10 10:36 AM by Bewts

Great fight till that horrible call. I watched this last night. Bellator is awesome, better than Strikeforce IMO.

Ryase site profile image  

4/17/10 10:22 AM by Ryase

Yes, we're all on Askren's nuts. Clearly.

mike pruitt 1970 site profile image  

4/17/10 9:38 AM by mike pruitt 1970

I knew there BULLSHIT in the game when i seen the odds. I thought a 2 time UFC vet against 3-0 who fought nobody (no offense to those fighters).So the stoppage might have more to do with it than a bad ref. I mean Ryan has mad footage and we seen none but alot of carrot tops brother (Askren). If I was Askren I would be the one asking for the rematch. You better hope that you dont met up with him again. TANK ENGINE you just brought the fighters in Danville IL up another level.(ref can u make 205)

Ryan Thomas site profile image  

4/17/10 7:27 AM by Ryan Thomas

 If I would have been choked out for even a split second then I would not have know how long I was out and wouldn't have complained. You can see by my immediate reaction that I was not even unconscious for a split second. 

CavemanDave site profile image  

4/17/10 7:11 AM by CavemanDave

 Uh... ok really... it's an arm-in guillotine, and he doesn't really have his hips under control, just a leg hooked.  I suppose somebody might be able to leverage downward and trap the guy like that, but there's way too much wiggle room to assume somebody can't get out of it or take pressure off the choke. That was a really bad stoppage.

Reed Rothchild site profile image  

4/17/10 6:27 AM by Reed Rothchild


Ryan Thomas site profile image  

4/17/10 6:08 AM by Ryan Thomas

 Anyone that says I was unconscious must either:                                                                                                              A. Never grappled a day in their life.      or       B. is stuck on Askrens nuts  so your opinion is biased anyways. This choke was not even close to choking me out. Askren had an arm in and I had it framed off very well and was not even beginning to black out or anything. People close their eyes when they are grappling all the time. Some people close their eyes because they are grimacing in pain or some people, such as myself, close their eyes to help them concentrate. Just look at the Masvidal vs Imada fight. Masvidal was choked out with his eyes open. If I were to be choked out, It wouldnt have mattered if my eyes were open or closed so people need to just ignore the fact that my eyes were closed. Next, I straightened my leg on my own free will to help me escape the choke. In that position Askren needs to get me crunched up as much as possible and I need to try to straighten out and relax. This is why Askren had my other leg hooked, because he wants me balled up. He would have been in better position if he would have had my top leg or both legs hooked, but he didnt and the choke was not even thight. I was just framing and making space by putting my hand on my forehead and waiting for his arms to tire out so I could pull my head out. It would make no sense for me to spaz out as soon as he put his choke on because It could have made it tighter. I did what I was supposed to do. I made space by framing on my head, straightening my leg, and then waiting for his arms to tire for a few seconds before I tried to escape. If you think I am a liar and my leg was limp because I was choked out, then you need to watch how I move it a little before the ref touches it with his knee. You guys have to take in account when your are watching the Gif in slow motion or the fight in real speed. I would not have went out that quick. It would have taken at least 3 or 4 second at the very soonest if he had both carotid arteries blocked off completely but he only had one and he was not going to get the other carotid artery. I was framed too good. I did not hear the ref say anything to me. Even if he did, he did not give me enough time to respond. If the ref was concerned about my safety and thought I might have been unconscious, then he should have lifted my arm to see if I was ok before he stopped the fight. It would have only taken a second of his time and not compromised my safetly. Instead he decided to spaz out and immediately stop the fight. The ref fucked up, plain and simple. This choke was not tight, I would have gotten my head out and we would have been in another scramble. I should not have this loss on my record and I should not have been screwed out of the remaining $90,000 that I possibly could have won in the tournament. Not to mention my title shot against Lyman Good. 

CompanyBlue site profile image  

4/17/10 3:09 AM by CompanyBlue

this needs to stop already. Thomas was defending the choke, look at his left hand. maybe he was getting out, maybe he wasn't, but in no way was there a reason to stop the fight. it was just bad bad reffing. The ref made several errors that night.

Fake Pie site profile image  

4/16/10 10:45 PM by Fake Pie

Maybe the gifs don't do it justice but it looks like he is going limp in what has been posted. Based on that, very good stoppage.

Tim Wills site profile image  

4/16/10 10:43 PM by Tim Wills

The stoppage was bullsh**!!! Ryan was not in any trouble. Bellator will lose viewers if they do not award a rematch. Besides a formal complaint is being filed with the Athletic Commission. Let us see what they have to say.