Bellator released welterweight champion Ben Askren early Thursday morning. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney announced the news through a press release, stating Askren was a one-dimensional fighter who was dominate in that dimension. Bellator will not hold the right to match any offer proposed to Askren.
The release should come at no surprise to anyone. Rebney has been attempting to spark interest in Askren for the past several months. Time after time, he has said that he would release Askren if the UFC offered him an immediate shot at Georges St. Pierre‘s title. That should have showed everyone his time in Bellator was coming to an end.
Askren, who is 12-0, dominated Andrey Koreshkov with his wrestling at Bellator 97 to keep his title. Is Askren a one-dimensional fighter? Yes, but he is also an athletic and talented fighter.
Now the question is where he will land next. Everyone is expecting to the UFC to sign Askren right away, but I’m not sure that will be the case. Dana White has openly commented on his dislike for fighters like Askren. In the past three or so months, he has released two fighters similar to Askren in Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami. It’s doubtful that White will be willing to spend a load of money on him.
The World Series of Fighting may actually be front-runner in the bidding war. Ray Sefo is building a decent welterweight division in WSOF. He has Fitch, Josh Burkman and the newly-crowned Steve Carl. Askren would be a great addition to the promotion’s growing welterweight roster.
In the end, it is likely that Askren will sign with the UFC, even if it is for less money. The UFC is the premiere MMA organization and Askren will be looking to showcase his skill in hopes for bigger and better things.