Opinion: Bellator Making Mistake With Ben Askren
By Michael Hatamoto
Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren may head for greener pastures in the UFC, but it is possible the dominant champion will remain in the No. 2 MMA promotion.
Askren recently completed his Bellator contract and is effectively in a restricted free agent phase of his contract.
Here is what Bellator President Bjorn Rebney recently said during a radio interview:
“I’m not sure if he’ll continue fighting here or if he’ll go and fight somewhere else. He is, as everybody’s described him, wildly one-dimensional, but when people say that to me about Ben Askren, I say well, if you don’t like the dimension, then change it or fix it or beat it, and nobody has been able to.”
Askren might not have the most exciting style in the MMA world, but his ability to takedown opponents and control them on the mat is impressive. The Duke Roufus-trained fighter is 12-0 and has defended the Bellator welterweight championship four times consecutively.
UFC President Dana White has expressed interest in signing the dominating wrestler, but believes it’ll be difficult to reach a deal if Bellator’s Rebney still has a say in the efforts.
Following Bellator’s issues with former UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, as he was lost in legal contract limbo for months, will return to the Bellator cage.
There is no telling what will happen to Askren in the near future – but if he wants to truly test his MMA skills, he needs to fight the best competition in the UFC. Anything besides staying in Bellator or moving to the UFC would be a worthless effort for Askren, who needs to push himself against the best.
Askren will stay busy by competing in the AGON Wrestling Championships on October 27, where he’ll meet in the main event against former NCAA champion and four-time All American Quentin Wright.