Slowly, it appears Bellator and Ben Askren are ready to move forward. Of course it’s not without a hitch. Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney has told Askren he will waive their negotiation period if the UFC promises a welterweight title shot first thing.
“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,” said Rebney on ESPN. “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.”
Askren is the current Bellator welterweight champion and has been so for three years now. He holds a promotion record for the most title defenses at four. This year he stopped Karl Amoussou and Andrey Koreshkov, with the latter taking place in the end of July. The Koreshkov win completed Askren’s nine-fight Bellator contract.
When it comes to contract negations, the UFC and Bellator do not agree on how business is handled. Former Bellator lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez was unable to sign a UFC deal due to the wording in his contract. After a long battle which spent time in the judicial system, Alvarez resigned with Belllator but details about the new contract are being kept sealed.
Askren, a former Olympic wrestler, sent UFC president Dana White a tweet 24 hours ago stating, “road has been cleared and I’m so confident I will win, if I lose I will fight for free!”
As of now Askren hasn’t signed any contract, but he wants UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.