Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney Discusses UFC’s Silence Toward Ben Askren
Bellator welterweight champion, Ben Askren, has been a free agent since the summer; and CEO Bjorn Rebney (pictured) wonders why the UFC has not made an offer yet.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
When Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren’s contract with Bellator came to a close this summer, many thought the UFC would soon pick him up – including Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. Which is why Rebney expressed his confusion as to why Askren is still a free agent.
“We’ll see what [the UFC officials] do,” Rebney told Sherdog following Bellator 103 last Friday. “I’ve heard no response from them at all, which is unusual and an anomaly. I think it puts them in a difficult spot to claim the best fighters fight in the UFC.
“The UFC consistently says the best fighters in the world fight in the UFC. They don’t. I believe Michael Chandler is the best lightweight in MMA and that Pat Curran is one of the top two featherweights in the world. [Eduardo] Dantas is a freak. Askren is in the top six or seven. So, if you’re going to make that statement, when one of the top six or seven [welterweights] in the world becomes available, you’ve got to pick up the phone and make him an offer, or you can’t continue to say, ‘The best fighters in the world fight here,’ because they don’t.”
Assuming that Rebney is correct in asserting Askren is in the top six or seven welterweight fighters, that makes his condition for releasing Askren – that he receives an immediate title shot – unreasonable at the very least.
It is unusual to see Rebney weighing an argument against the UFC so heavily on a fighter he himself called boring this summer.