The sport of mixed martial arts has not been kind to welterweight Ben Askren of late. He was recently released by Bellator without an offer, despite being the organization's divisional champion.
The move was so egregious that World Series of Fighting matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz went on Josh Gross' "Gross Pointe Blank," and decried Bellator CEO and Founder Bjorn Rebney.
"I love the sport so much, but sometimes I get disgusted with some of the things people do," said Abdel-Aziz, as transcribed by UFC-mma" target="_blank">MMAMania.com. "You have this guy who is the Bellator champion and then you have this jerk from Bellator, Bjork Rebney or whatever his name is. He talks bad about Ben first saying he is 'boring' and 'one-dimensional' and he is their champion. The reason he is saying that is because he already knows in his mind he is going to release him. I think it's disrespectful to Ben, the guy is an Olympian, there doesn't come a better athlete than this, and listen, he is a one-dimensional fighter but his last two fights were so exciting and the guy brings a lot to the table. He talks, has a good personality, stays active on social media, and for Bellator to do that I think it was disgusting and an embarrassment for the sport to talk bad about your champion just because you know you're going to release him."
"They did it in such a scummy, dirty, slimy way. The first thing Rebney did was say he is one-dimensional, that he isn't the most exciting, and then they released him on the 20th anniversary of UFC to make themselves relevant, because honestly, the Bellator name is not relevant in the media, that's just the reality of it. They could have been classy about it, they could have said 'good luck,' but they played this little game with UFC and it really hurt the guy, it didn't hurt Bellator. I think he did a lot for Bellator and I think it's wrong what they did. This is why I don't think they are going to last for long, the time is going to be coming soon for them to leave."
"They don't put on fights anyone cares about except Alvarez vs. Chandler. Who cares about other fights? I don't care about it as an MMA fan and listen, I watched the Alvarez vs. Chandler fight because I knew every other fight on the undercard sucked. Realistically, Bellator doesn't have anyone that can fight Askren. We do, we have a lot more competition than they do."
"Bjorn Rebney is just not a good guy, he's just not. I dealt with him when I managed guys and he is just not a good guy. I think Viacom is a great platform and Spike is amazing. I think people are more excited now to watch Glory than Bellator."
UFC president Dana White met with Askren on Monday, but did not offer him a job.
"The meeting went well," said White as transcribed by MMAFighting. "He's a nice kid. I've got nothing personal against him. He's a nice guy. You know, we just won't be signing him."
“I wasn’t even going to say this, because it sounds like I’m just s----ing on them, but there’s just no competition for him over at Bellator. There’s competition for him at World Series of Fighting. This kid will probably sign with them. I don’t know they’ve got to come to an agreement and a deal. But if he does, there’s actual competition for him there.”
“I think it’s crazy that he’s ranked in the top 10. He hasn’t fought anybody and has no challenges. The best thing that could’ve ever happened to that kid was leaving Bellator. Now he has the opportunity to go to World Series of Fighting and show what he’s got.”
WSoF's welterweights include Josh Burkman, champion Steve Carl, Jon Fitch, and Rousimar Palhares.
If Askren does end up in WSoF, who would you like to see him fight first?
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