Bellator Confirms Ben Askren Not Returning to Promotion
By FCF Staff
Ben Askren has been open about the fact that he hopes to fight in the UFC someday, and now Bellator has officially announced it won’t stand in his way of signing elsewhere.
The promotion has confirmed Thursday that it will not match any contract that is offered to Askren, and that the renowned wrestler is no longer the Bellator Welterweight Champion. Recent tourney winner Douglas Lima will fight the winner of the Season 9 tournament sometime in the coming months.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney was quoted saying in the official release:
“I’ve said it many times, Ben’s a completely one-dimensional fighter who is utterly dominant in that dimension,” Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney said. “I had a number of discussions with Ben and it became clear it was time for both parties to move in different directions. We’ve relinquished any right to match here and Ben can sign with whoever he chooses to sign with. Ben’s been at Bellator since the start of his career, I respect him and what he’s accomplished and wish him the best wherever he goes.”
After Askren entered free agency, Rebney announced that the promotion likely wouldn’t match any offer the UFC made the fighter. Since UFC President Dana White initially said they were interested in talking to Askren, however, no contract offer has been reported. That could change now that Bellator is no longer in the picture.
Askren (12-0) hasn’t fought since July when he stopped Andrey Koreshkov in the fourth round at Bellator 97. The 29 year-old’s grinding and wrestling based style has been criticized in the past, but Askren is coming off consecutive stoppage wins.