The action is heating up behind the scenes with Bellator and their welterweight champion Ben Askren. As reported on Fighters.com, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney made an offer to release Askren from his contract if the UFC offered him an immediate title shot in the octagon, and if you ask Askren’s striking coach Duke Roufus, he feels like Askren is being used as a pawn by Bellator. According to Roufus, the idea that the UFC President Dana White would agree to this seems very far fetched.
Roufus told MMAFighting:
“I feel like at times [Askren]’s being used as a pawn from one promotion to the other, personally. I mean, if [Bellator] doesn’t want him, let him go. I would love to see that fight happen, for sure. But Georges is talking about retiring, for one. Two, in order to make a title fight at welterweight in the UFC, they need footage to promote Ben, which they don’t have.
“Bjorn’s got to know it’s a very hard asking for Dana, ‘let’s do this. Realistically you need footage and a contender fight. Where do we get the footage of Ben Askren in the background to promote this? Because Bellator owns this, and another TV company owns this. There’s a lot of things behind the scenes that just couldn’t happen. It’s weird, because [my] fighters are like my children. A week ago, Ben was down. He gets this told to him, he’s happier than a kid on Christmas.”
That’s the thing — I don’t want to be in the CFL. No, I want to be in the NFL. No disrespect to Bellator, they put out a great product, but the UFC with the fighters, nobody wants to be the NABC champion, they want WBC boxing champion. It just is what it is. I mean, there’s going to be No. 1.”
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