Jake Paul: Ben Askren fight branded 'rigged' after backstage footage emerges

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The main event of Saturday's Triller Fight Club pay-per-view event between Jake Paul and Ben Askren attracted controversy from the moment it was announced. 

Many critics branded the boxing match between social media superstar Paul and former UFC fighter Askren as a farce from the outset, suggesting that both had no business in a professional boxing ring.

However, following Paul's first-round demolition of Askren at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, that controversy has continued to swirl on social media - with some branding the fight as "fixed".

This is not just the view of fans watching from home either, as several professional fighters have shared the same opinion.

UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington was not shy of expressing his views on the fight as he tweeted: "Snake Paul vs Asscream was a work" (i.e fixed.)

The fight itself was brought to a stop in the first round after Paul sent Askren to the canvas with a big punch. Despite a heavy fall, Askren did manage to get back to his feet. However, after examining Askren for several seconds, the referee deemed that the 36-year-old was in no condition to continue and halted the contest.

It looked like the right call, as Askren appeared to be on very unsteady legs. With that said, it did take the referee an unusually long time to make the decision to stop the fight.

Reigning UFC bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling felt this was suspicious, asking his followers "Who paid the ref?".

Claims over the result not being legitimate increased when Askren was shown walking to the locker room - alongside his family - with a wide grin on his face.

Some felt that this was further evidence that not all was as it seemed with the bout.

One user posted a clip of the footage, together with the caption: "Ben Askren celebrating with his family after he just got 'knocked out'...".

Another remarked: "This is the happiest any fighter has ever looked after losing. Congrats on securing the bag".

"He was def faking that s***," insisted a third comment.

Askren was officially paid $500,000 for what turned out to be his less than two minutes of work. However, when you add in sponsorships and incentives, he will likely pocket far more.

Only Askren will know for sure why he was smiling. Zoomed in, slow-motion footage of the final punch, though, does not suggest that Askren took a dive.

The right hand that Paul landed to floor his opponent was pretty solid - and Askren teetered around the ring afterwards as though he had just taken a serious shot.

Whenever these so-called 'celebrity' fights are made, conspiracy theories tend not to be far behind. This weekend, however, it was Paul's power that closed the show - and not a predetermined script!

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