Last week Bellator President Bjorn Rebney stated he would allow Askren to leave Bellator, no strings attached, if Askren was given an immediate shot at the welterweight title. There has been no official response from the UFC, and Askren's head coach Duke Roufus believes his fighter is just a pawn in the battle between Bellator and the UFC;
"I feel like at times [Askren]’s being used as a pawn from one promotion to the other, personally," Roufus said. "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,’" he said. "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."
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