Bjorn Rebney Blasts UFC on Lack of Interest in Askren
Despite Ben Askren’s newfound status as an unrestricted free agent, UFC president Dana White seems to not be interested in making him an offer just yet, claiming that “He’s got some work to do, he can fight in another organization and work his way up and go from there.” Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has expressed his distaste of the decision.
“”I think it’s disingenuous and ridiculous. If you stand up consistently at every press conference and meeting and every scrum and say the best fighters in the world fight here, and the No. 6-ranked welterweight in the world becomes available – unrestricted with no matching rights – and you don’t even make him an offer, then you need to stop saying the greatest fighters in the world fight there.”
According to Rebney, Askren was not released without an offer from the company. “I thought we made offers that were reasonable and fair. We made him a serious offer. We made him a series of offers and he came back and yelled at me. I made him a whole new series of offers. And then he came back again and wanted them to get bigger.”
However, Bjorn apparently balked at the idea of making too high of an offer to a fighter who simply is not perceived as exciting.
“He presents a weird conundrum from the MMA promoter’s perspective…”I talked to him about it…His value of his perception in the marketplace was higher than my perception of his value to this company. I don’t know what he’s going to make where he goes. I hope he makes a fortune wrestling people to death…There are an awful lot of fighters in the UFC Ben Askren could beat 99 times out of 100, many of them in the top of that division,” Rebney argued. “I just think it’s disingenuous.”
Despite the apparent lack of interested from the UFC, Askren doesn’t seem too worried. “[White] said he was interested two months ago, nothing had changed. We will see what happens.”