Bellator passes on Ben Askren

August 21, 2013

ESPN’s Josh Gross reports that Bellator will let Ben Askren leave for the UFC if Dana White wants the welterweight standout. Bellator head Bjorn Rebney told ESPN that it would not make an offer to Askren.

Askren’s last contracted fight was this past July. Similar to Alvarez, its believed that Bellator has the right to match any contract offered to Askren. However, it appears that it is passing. The news was surprising considering Askren’s record and perhaps not surprising considering Askren’s wrestling-heavy, grinding style which is not exciting. After a bitter legal battle with Eddie Alvarez,which ended in a settlement and Alvarez coming back to Bellator, the company has made a decision on Askren.

When asked about whether Askren would be on Bellator’s first PPV in November he indicated that there would be “no chance.” Thus, it was likely that the parting was mutual.

Askren has already been in contact with Dana White via twitter:

Payout Perspective:

Askren is a dominant wrestler and a personality but his style may have been a reason Bellator has decided to give up on re-signing him. However, Bellator needs top level talent for the company and the PPV. Askren is dominating and Bellator could have utilized this. Perhaps Bellator saw another Alvarez situation on the horizon and thought best to let him go rather than get embroiled in another costly lawsuit. We will see if Askren does end up in the UFC and how his talent does in the UFC’s welterweight division.

24 Responses to “Bellator passes on Ben Askren”

  1. Chris on August 21st, 2013 4:02 PM

    If Ben really wants to leave then he needs to wait out the matching period cause I wouldnt believe a word Bjorn says.

    If the offer is matchable he will match it despite what he says.

    On the other hand I can see them maybe being ok with him leaving. he isnt exciting, everyone knows nobody is beating him in Bellator so maybe Bjorn feels his div is better off without Ben. That having guys like Lima and Saunders and Koreshkov and War Machine fighting for the belt makes the div more exciting than Askren grinding all of them down.

    Not a fan of Ben’s but I do want to see how good he is and to see how good he is he needs to be in the UFC fighting the top WW.

  2. aintitthetruth on August 21st, 2013 5:20 PM

    If ufc lowballs askren I could see belator matching. If ben gets signed for cheap and loses like lombard it will reflect poorly on belator.

  3. BrainSmasher on August 21st, 2013 5:29 PM

    This really makes Bellator look bad imo. They are really losing credibility among the MMA community. The UFC doesn’t like boring fighters and neither do the fans. BUt we don’t want the best fighters in the UFC and will put up with a boring fighter to maintain the credibility of the sport. Bellator had a fighter they can honest argue is one of the best and maybe the best. They was willing to part with that credibility at a time they are using pro wrestling to promote a circus fight no one wanted to see and doesn’t make sense.

    It never fails these promotions do everything in their power to shoot themselves in the ass. At some point Askren would have lost. Be it a bad style match up, lucky punch or a mistake, or old age. Either way it will happen eventually. When that happens it passes all Askrens credibility to that fighter who will be more exciting. Point is when it happens. The UFC fighters will have been knocking each other off. Askren would have started getting more and more attention as maybe the best when he is always the last one standing. This has happened in other promotions before. Then BFC could have kept that credibility in house. It is almost impossible for a promotion like BFC to ever get a fighter who can give their fighters cred as being top level talent. Now who can anyone in BFC beat that will get them in MMA’s top 10? Not a single person.

    At least BFC isn’t riding the fence between MMA and pro wrestling anymore. They are firmly on the “sports entertainment” side of the fence.

  4. BrainSmasher on August 21st, 2013 5:34 PM

    I feel Competition for the UFC is a bad thing in almost every aspect. But one aspect it does help is in fighters pay. Well not in this case. BFC just made sure Askren got a shitty deal. BFC said they don’t want him. THe UFC will not have to beat any offers and will offer him a normal rate of 10-30K to show. The UFC will either get him for that low price or BFC will match that low price.

    This was very low of BFC. If they didn’t want him all they had to do was keep it to themselves and allow Askren to get a better deal from the UFC. Instead they went out of their way to tell the UFC that they are not bidding against anyone. That is one of the dirtiest things I have seen in the fight game. What did Askren do to deserve that?

  5. aintitthetruth on August 21st, 2013 6:24 PM

    The ufc loves boring fighters. I’m sick of 5 rd gsp snoozefests.

  6. aintitthetruth on August 21st, 2013 6:26 PM

    I better get a blanket and pillow for askren vs gsp. they should do askren vs matt brown. As a title eliminator. brown has earned it.

  7. assassin on August 21st, 2013 6:33 PM

    What about WSOF?
    Isnt everyone waiting for Fitch v Askren?

  8. aintitthetruth on August 21st, 2013 6:46 PM

    I don’t think askren would get paid as much from wsof. I could see the ufc giving him 75/75.wsof maybe 50/50 if he was lucky. 50/25 or less would be more realistic.

  9. John S. on August 21st, 2013 8:44 PM

    “We’re not going to make an offer at tis point”
    “If the UFC does make an offer, we’ll take a look at it and move on from there,”

    Bellator is not passing on Askren. No where in Gross’s pieces does he say that. They’re doing almost the same thing that they did with Alvarez: letting the UFC make an offer first and then seeing if they can match. Rebney is downplaying Askren here probably because doesn’t want to drive up his price and also save some face if he does leave.

  10. Jason Cruz on August 21st, 2013 9:10 PM

    If Bellator is not passing on Askren and they are downplaying him to get a better deal, it has got to be one of the worst strategies ever.

    From the second graph of ESPN article: “I don’t think we’re going to make an offer at this point,” Bjorn Rebney.

    So if it plays out and Bellator turns around and matches the UFC. It looks even worse than Alvarez situation.

    Why talk to the media and give a comment on the contract situation with Askren. So, it can “swerve” everyone? Even if the comments are not “technically” saying they are not going to sign Askren, Bellator has to know that is how it will be perceived in the media.

    It would be like they leak that its first PPV would be headlined by Rampage facing Roy Jones and then all of a sudden its not Roy Jones. I just don’t think that Bellator would ever do something like that.

  11. John S. on August 21st, 2013 9:16 PM

    This time the UFC knows courts won’t automatically accept potential ppv points so if they lowball him the precedent is set and no one will be surprised. And if he does leave for the UFC, which is very likely, then Rebney has made some face-saving comments about how they really weren’t that interested in him in the first place.

  12. aintitthetruth on August 21st, 2013 10:05 PM

    And since eddie caved we don’t know if a bellator ppv is the same as a ufc ppv.

  13. BrainSmasher on August 22nd, 2013 12:00 AM

    I don’t see how this is good for Bellator at all. There was no reason to say what he said. So what if UFC and WSOF don’t make him an offer? Does BFC still not make an offer? Say they do match a low ball offer someone makes. How does it look that you didn’t even show your champ you even wanted him? I have never seen anyone disrespect a champion this bad for no reason at all. Askrens contract ran out. He didn’t ask for 7 figure contract. IT just ran out after being your champ and being undefeated. He hasn’t said anything bad about the company. For Bjorn to come out and treat him like this is unheard of. He just killed Askrens chance of getting a good deal. So even if BFC matches it he goes back to them after they just told everyone they really don’t want him.

    I could understand if things got ugly and Askren was going full Tito mode and calling BFC names. But we haven’t heard anything. Bjorn just went total scumbag for no reason at all except to destroy the credibility of Askren. You better believe all the fighters are seeing this. BFC has done more dirty shit to its fighters in such a short time I cant believe anyone would ever sign with them.

  14. Chang on August 22nd, 2013 12:57 AM
  15. aintitthetruth on August 22nd, 2013 1:04 AM

    Another athlete blowing a fortune. Big deal. The real topic should by that mma fighters deserve a fair chance to be capable of squandering millions of dollars.

  16. aintitthetruth on August 22nd, 2013 1:07 AM

    This article should be titled “bellator pisses on askren”

  17. Tops of on August 22nd, 2013 3:27 AM

    Hahaha…If that story is true(out of cash possible but assets he still has a lot)…at least he’ll get above 20 million fight vs rios…..at the very least he got rich before he goes bankrupt….MMA fighters won’t get that chance….I wonder how much money zombie was able to take home to Korea….lol

  18. Tops of on August 22nd, 2013 3:31 AM

    Talkin bout pacman

  19. Tops of on August 22nd, 2013 1:23 PM

    This just in

    Chan Sung Jung will likely be sidelined for up to one year after going under the knife to repair a dislocated right shoulder and broken orbital bone he suffered during his UFC Featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo at UFC 163…..

    That 20k wont last a year……

  20. BrainSmasher on August 22nd, 2013 1:52 PM

    Guess who is paying for that? Of course he could always have stayed in the minor league promotions. Not have even 5K and be paying for this himself. How about you send him some money Tops? Surely you cant watch someone in such need and dire straights and not do your part to help him. Dig deep my friend. Dig deep!

  21. Tops of on August 22nd, 2013 7:11 PM

    Hahaha…UFC = fame,injuries and chump change…..out for a year….at least young Korean MMA fighters would see this….and look thru the Dana marketing spell b.s. and go back to reality that the mountain that they are planning to climb…has no rewards at all….hahaha

  22. HandsomeTim on August 22nd, 2013 11:41 PM

    This move doesn’t surprise me people seem to forget this is exactly what Bjorn did with Eddie Alvarez. He canceled his exclusive period and let him go to the UFC.
    My guess he has no intention of letting Ben go this is a ploy to try and drop the terms of the contract and he will come in and match.
    I may not be a fan of Bjorn or Bellator but I know he isn’t stupid. There is a calculated plan here.
    If Ben wants to be smart just sit out the matching period and sign with the UFC then.

  23. aintitthetruth on August 23rd, 2013 6:17 AM

    From what i understand viacom calls the shots at bellator now. rebney is just a figurehead.

  24. BrainSmasher on August 23rd, 2013 8:28 PM

    That was clear when they contradicted what he said about using UFC washouts.

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