It all seemed so perfect. Ben Askren defended his championship, fulfilled his nine-fight contract, and was on his way to the UFC. The former Olympian would get to test his skills at the highest level and there were even reports that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney had essentially wished him well. But that actually wasn’t the case at all.
Spekaing to Inside MMA, Rebney brought some clarification to the situation:
“Ben said he wanted to go out and see what the UFC would offer. I said, ‘You know what? Let’s cut this short. You go out and see what they’ll offer, and we’ll make a determination from there.’ So right now, we’re just waiting for Ben to come back, show us the offer from the UFC and we’ll make a determination from there.”
Sounds clear cut. Yet, neither Askren or UFC President Dana White has commented on a potential deal. White could be understandably gun shy to get involved in any of this after losing the negotiation to bring Eddie Alvarez into the Zuffa family after a lengthy legal battle. But at what point does the reward outweigh the risk? The 12-0 welterweight is one of the best ground fighters in the sport and the UFC can likely get creative enough that Bellator won’t be able to match all the stipulations they put into the contract. The only downfall is that until everything gets sorted out, Askren has to sit on the sidelines and wait.
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