It’s no secret that Bellator MMA Welterweight Champion Ben Askren’s contract is up with the promotion. While UFC President Dana White has ridiculed Askren’s fights in the past, he also said they would talk to Askren about fighting for the UFC. The last time the UFC tried to sign a fighter from Bellator, Eddie Alvarez ended up in a legal battle with Bellator that has left him out of the cage for a long time, and the UFC ended up walking away from the deal. It’s also clear that Askren has the same matching clause in his contract, which is good until July of next year, but Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney says they will waive the matching clause right now if they give Askren an immediate title shot.
Rebney told ESPN:
“Here’s my message to the UFC. Stop saying that the best in the world fight in the UFC. And stop saying that our matching rights are stopping you from talking to one of the greatest welterweights in the game. And that’s it. It’s simple. It’s straightforward. There’s no back talk. No back track. No game to it. It’s as simple as that.
“If you want to say the best fighters in the world fight in your organization and one becomes available and you have the unfettered right to talk to him, pick up the phone and call him. And if you claim our matching rights are so prohibitive — the exact same matching rights that you have in your agreement — then give him a title fight out of the box, which is not unreasonable given that he’s ranked in the top six in the world, and I’ll just walk away from our matching rights. So I’m making it as simple as I can possibly make it for them to live up to what they claim. Go for it. Or don’t go for and I’ll re-sign him. And if you want to fight the best you can come here to Bellator, train your wrestling like a wild dog, and try to beat Ben Askren.”
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