Robbie Lawler Addresses Stoppage in Fight with Ben Askren at UFC 235

Robbie Lawler, UFC 235
Robbie Lawler Credit: Rodney James Edgar/Cageside Press

You-know-what happens. That’s how Robbie Lawler looks at the finish of his fight with Ben Askren at UFC 235. And surprisingly, he has no ill will toward ref Herb Dean.

No, he wasn’t close to going out. But believe it or not, Robbie Lawler wasn’t as upset as expected at the UFC 235 post-fight press conference on Saturday night. Or Sunday morning, depending on what coast you were on. In any case, to recap, Lawler lost a fight he’d clearly been winning when a bloodied Ben Askren caught him in a bulldog choke. It looked like Lawler might have gone out. Herb Dean, officiating the fight, certainly thought so.

That wasn’t the case. Asked about the finish post-fight, Lawler said simply, “sh*t happens in there. Sometimes there’s mistakes being made. Herb checked on me, when he checked on me I gave him the thumbs up.”

Lawler admitted that he couldn’t hear Dean speaking, as in the choke, Askren’s arm was draped over his ear. Nor did he want to dangle an arm out randomly in a thumbs up the entire time. Eventually Dean called the fight. But there’s no ill will towards Herb Dean on Lawler’s part.

“It happens, he’s a hell of a ref, he just made a mistake,” he said.

Lawler would like to run it back. As for an appeal, “it’s not really my thing, but I have handlers who will do that kind of sh*t for me. Stuff happens in life, people make mistakes, and I’m not one to whine about sh*t.” That’s how Lawler put what happened in the finishing sequence in his fight with Askren at UFC 235.

Asked by Cageside Press how close the choke was, Lawler clarified that “I wasn’t choking, because I was actually thinking, I can just pick him up and slam him. But he was squeezing so damn hard, it was like, just let him burn out his arms. At least that’s what it felt like, I don’t know how it looked on TV.”

“It felt like he was wasting energy squeezing when I wasn’t getting choked,” he continued, “so I just sat there. Guess I should have done the thumbs up a little earlier or something.”

Now, what’s next for Robbie Lawler? While he plans on some family time, “I’m going to get back to work on Monday, and just start building. I’d like to run it back, we’ll see what happens. I’m not sure what Dave Martin’s going to do, what Dana thinks, what the commission thinks. But I’d like to run it back, and do it again.”