"I don't think we're going to make an offer at this point," Bjorn Rebney, Bellator MMA chairman and CEO, told ESPN.com. "So I don't see any reason to make anybody sit out.
"If Ben's going to go to the UFC, we should speed up that process so he can go fight. I'd love to see Ben versus GSP," Rebney added.
Is Bellator just playing hardball, or is the promotion truly willing to let one of its most dominant champions leave without so much as a whisper?
Time will tell how it all plays out, but at least Rebney admits Bellator will be somewhat interested depending on the offer the UFC puts on the table.
"If the UFC does make an offer, we'll take a look at it and move on from there," Rebney said. "We haven't been proactive yet. I have nothing but good things to say about Ben as a fighter, but we're all very aware of how he fights and what he does. It's not for everyone."
Breaking down Rebney's comments line by line, it appears that Askren is simply not exciting enough to compete under the Bellator umbrella.
The fact that he’s a dominant, elite fighter isn’t enough to interest them at the financial cost they imagine he’ll run them, which means Bellator is content with letting a champion bolt to greener pastures just because he's boring to watch.
UFC President Dana White, who once called Askren "the most boring fighter in MMA history," shocked many in the fight community by saying the promotion would indeed be in talks with him now that his contract with Bellator is up.
At the end of the day, the Askren situation reignites the debate of MMA being a sport vs pure entertainment.
Askren isn't the most exciting fighter in the world, but he wins all of his fights. He might even be the man who can beat UFC champ Georges St-Pierre. However, his lay-and-pray, smothering style of offense is boring to watch.
With that said, the proof would be in the pudding that Bellator is more about entertainment than sport if Rebney and Viacom allow Askren to walk over to the UFC without even trying.