Sometimes a street fight isn't really a street fight because it gets stopped as soon as it starts. A punch gets thrown in the heat of the moment, and intervention is served up by someone with a cooler head. That was the case with Ben Askren and Michael Chandler. I decided to add this to the street fighting diaries because it could have spiraled out of control, but cooler heads did indeed prevail on this particular day. Here's the story as told by Ben Askren:
You know what, I'm not a very aggressive person outside of competitive arenas. The only person I ever punched before I started my MMA career was Michael Chandler, who is the Bellator lightweight champion. I had hurt my neck, and it was getting pretty bad, to the point where the doctors were telling me to stop wrestling for a while, not permanently.
There was a tournament, I think it was the US Nationals or something, in 2006. I was trying to push through and deal with it, just do the tournament and then take a handful of weeks off to recover so I could be able to compete in the trials that year. Mike was my partner. We had wrestled together at Missouri, and sometimes he's kind of herky jerky, he's got too many muscles sometimes [laughs]. I said, 'Mike, my neck's bad, take it easy', and he did something on my neck, I can't remember what exactly it was, but I got a bad stinger. He started laughing, and I got so mad I hit him, and then the coaches broke us up. That is the only time I ever hit somebody.
Ben and Michael have remained close, and obviously didn't let this small altercation interfere with their friendship. There's an old saying, 'Don't poke a wounded animal' that could definitely apply here. Furthermore, if you poke it, certainly don't laugh about it afterwards.
You can follow Ben via his Twitter account, @BenAskren