Bellator 40: Victorious Ben Askren Announces Move to Roufusport, Nick Thompson Retires
On Saturday night Ben Askren utilized his unrivaled wrestling ability to overmatch veteran opponent Nick Thompson at Bellator 40. While many people expected Askren's youth and strength to prove advantageous, the real news from both fighters broke afterward.
Earning a unanimous decision victory on all scorecards (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) Askren remained undefeated with his eighth straight victory. The win was his fourth straight decision within Bellator and he now has one last fight left on his organizational contract.
The real news from Askren, which US Combat Sports hinted at a week ago, was that the Wisconsin-native announced he will be coming back home in order to train under Duke Roufus in Milwaukee.
"I will, for the first time in my life, be a full-time professional fighter," Askren said. "I am gonna move to Milwaukee to train under Duke Roufus. If you thought I was okay now, I might get a little better now that it's full-time."
For Askren, who has worked with Roufus and his team of exciting fighters in the past, the move makes perfect sense. Admittedly needing to improve his striking game, the switch should help him evolve into a well-rounded fighter and turn him into an eventual challenger as one of the welterweight division's top fighters. Also, Askren, his brother Max, and former Arrowhead High School wrestling coach John Mesenbrink are set to open the Askren Wrestling Academy in Hartland this weekend.
Nick Thompson Calls it Quits
Also emerging after the Askren victory over Thompson was that "The Goat" has announced his retirement from the fight game. Finishing with a highly respectable record of 38-14-1, the practicing lawyer announced the news on The Underground.
"I have fought many great fighters, even beating a few along the way. In all those fights, I have never felt as frustrated as I felt tonight. Ben Askren is truly a great wrestler/grappler and I look forward to seeing him develop in the sport. I have been a fan of Ben's since I knew him in high school and am appreciative that Bellator provided me an opportunity for my last fight to be against a fighter for whom I have such tremendous respect.
I love this sport and all that it has given to me and it is with a mix of joy and sadness that I realize that I am no longer willing to pay the price necessary to compete at the level I expect from myself – the level of guys like Ben, Weedman and Heiron. I have reached a point where it is more important to me to spend time at home with my daughter and wife, who have been great about me competing, and focus on developing my law career at O'Flaherty Heim Egan & Birnbaum LTD, which has also been great about me competing. I am grateful for the many wonderful people who supported me and those I met in mixed martial arts, fans and fighters, and am hopeful that I can give something back to the sport I love by coaching and/or representing the next crop of mixed martial arts superstars.
Thompson ends his fighting career with a number of impressive victories throughout a plethora of organizations. A veteran of virtually every major organization (UFC, Strikeforce, Senkogu, Bellator, EliteXC, Bodog, etc.) Thompson will always be remembered as one of the toughest and funniest fighters from the Midwest. Congratulations on a wonderful career.