It’s been a couple of months now since Bjorn Rebney shocked folks by saying he likely wouldn’t match any UFC offer to Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren, and now the promotion’s CEO is raising some eyebrows once again.
After Askren became a free agent, Dana White said the UFC was interested in talking to the undefeated fighter, but the ZUFFA property hasn’t sent “Funky” an offer just yet. At the same time, White has been quick to criticize Bellator about their contracts, and more specifically, the matching rights they retain. So, in a follow up report from ESPN.com, which features quotes from Askren and Rebney, here is what the latter had to communicate to the UFC.
“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.”
Wow. Now it will be interesting to see what White’s reaction is to all this. Chances are it’s not going to be ‘reserved.’ Would the UFC even consider giving Askren an immediate title shot? While many people believe Askren could likely test Georges St. Pierre or Johny Hendricks, the UFC doesn’t typically hand out title shots without building up contenders in house first.
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