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Early stoppage? Refs McCarthy, Goddard have opposing thoughts on Jake Paul vs Ben Askren

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Two respected names in MMA officiating have differing opinions over the stoppage decision for the Jake Paul-Ben Askren fight on Saturday.

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It took two minutes for Jake Paul to finish Ben Askren during Saturday’s Triller headliner in Atlanta. The former Bellator and ONE Championship titleholder was on wobbly legs after getting dropped with an overhand right, prompting referee Brian Stutts to step in and put the fight to a halt.

While many fight fans weren’t surprised about the outcome, a subset of viewers had their conspiracy theories.

Like how a handful of MMA fighters felt the need to defend their community, referee Marc Goddard had the urge to respond to those who question the stoppage and Stutt’s decision.

Hours after the spectacle ended, the veteran MMA official took to Twitter to essentially debunk the suspicions that began to float around.

John McCarthy, however, didn’t see it that way. While he didn’t play the “work” angle, he did pin the blame on referee Stutts for making a “small-time decision.”

“This is what happens when you have a small-time referee making small-time decisions,” McCarthy told Josh Thomson in a recent episode of their Weighing-In podcast. “And when I say small-time decisions, Ben Askren was up before there was even a count of eight. And was given a lot of extra time because the guy was trying to keep Jake Paul back.

“And this was the first round, there was a lot of people paying money for this fight, it’s not a regional grassroots fight where you have a four-rounder where someone gets knocked on the ground and you don’t want someone to get hurt.

“You make decisions based upon, ‘OK, I realize the situation that we’re in.’ And to stop the fight, no. You don’t stop the fight. You don’t just hand it to Jake Paul that way.”

McCarthy continued to talk about how poorly the stoppage was done.

“Yes, Ben got hit with the shot, but Ben was up and Ben was ready to go. His hands were in the right place, all the things that… Small-time decisions. It was really bad.

“If you’re gonna have a fight on and people are paying for it, then bring someone that understands what it’s like to referee a high-level competition or a big show. It was bad.”

“Paul, who is now 3-0 in his professional boxing record, has been a target of multiple MMA fighters who seemingly want an instant payday. The 36-year-old Askren, on the other hand, formally ended his combat sports career on Saturday as he intends to focus on running his wrestling academies.