Report: Bellator Will Release Ben Askren if Given Immediate UFC Title Shot
Bellator MMA CEO Bjorn Rebney has placed an impossible condition on his release of welterweight champion Ben Askren to the UFC.
By Christopher Murphy @MurphMMA
This summer Bellator MMA welterweight champion Ben Askren became a free agent. It was expected that the UFC would pick him up, and it was also expected that Bellator would try to make that difficult. Neither of those happened, and instead, the two MMA organizations have stalled in a back-and-forth that has made the entire story somewhat irrelevant.
Nevertheless, Bjorn Rebney has dropped what he must feel is ‘a bomb’ on the UFC. As Josh Gross reported through SI.com, Rebney is willing to waive Bellator’s rights to match the UFC’s contract offer. Of course, Rebney’s offer comes with the caveat that the UFC offer Askren an immediate title shot in his first fight.
Sincere interest in his employee or another technique to stall the UFC from making Askren an offer… with Rebney, you just never know. Whatever it is, it is a drastic change in tune from this summer when Rebney all but told Askren to not let Bellator’s door hit him on the way out.
Regardless, this fight is something Askren himself has talked openly about. While talk of his retirement circled, Askren denied those claims saying that he would not retire until he fought current UFC welterweight champion, Georges St-Pierre.
UFC President Dana White has not responded to the latest statements from Rebney, but he has been very vocal in his reservation to believe anything the rival promoter has to offer.
As it stands, White and Rebney are far from doing business together. Additionally, the UFC’s welterweight division is unbelievably stacked, with two upcoming fights with top contenders that can change the landscape at 170 lbs. And as the UFC continues its steady success in the sports world, Bellator is preparing for its first promotional Pay Per View fight. It seems the only person who is truly suffering from all this stalling is Ben Askren.