Sean O’Malley’s night at UFC 252 on Saturday didn’t exactly go as planned. After his right leg buckled early in the first round courtesy of a hard Marlon Vera calf kick, the 25-year-old left the Octagon area on a gurney.
Retired fighter Ben Askren was tuned into the night of fights and was left disappointed with how his “other son” left the building.
“What that says to me and the fact that he let them cart him out,” Askren told Ariel Helwani on Monday (transcript by MMA Mania). “If they tried carting me out with an ankle injury I would have fought someone over that. You are not putting my ass on a stretcher because I got an ankle injury.
"If they tried carting me out with an ankle injury, I would've fought someone over that... I got one other good leg and I'm gonna hop all the way to the back. Leave me the F alone."@Benaskren believes Sean O'Malley's exit at #UFC252 was a sign of weakness. (via @arielhelwani) pic.twitter.com/xFAk1onsh8— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 18, 2020
“I got one other good leg and I am going to hop all the way to the back so leave me the ‘F’ alone. I think he needs to grow up.”
When Helwani asked if Askren thought it was a sign of weakness, here’s the response.
“Absolutely. Listen, it’s part of growing up,” Askren said. “In life you have failures and you have struggles. You’re gonna learn from them. Obviously, he hasn’t lost a fight to this point, so he probably hasn’t experienced those really hard things.
“At this point, embarrassment also. Because he was building himself up and he got his ass kicked by Chito Vera, he’s probably a little embarrassed by that, as well.
“Hey, that’s part of it,” he continued. “Get up, rub some dirt on it, hop yourself to the back. Hey, you got a coach, right? Maycee Barber was tough enough. She put her arm around me and Marc (Montoya) and we hopped to the back. Dude, she was in so much pain. She didn’t need a stretcher.
“I’mma get to the back without a damn stretcher. That was embarrassing.”
Coach Tim Welch later clarified that O’Malley begged off the gurney ride at least thrice, to no avail.
He was trying to say I don’t need a stretcher like three times, they enforced it.— Tim Welch (@TimwelchMT) August 18, 2020
A close source to the O’Malley camp reported no fractures, but the young fighter will need to go through an MRI scan for possible ligament and tendon tears.