Askren: Bellator stance ‘could be a ploy’

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bellator chief Bjorn Rebney appears to be letting Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren simply walk away.

“I don’t think we’re going to make an offer at this point,” said Rebney. “So I don’t see any reason to make anybody sit out.”

“If Ben’s going to go to the UFC, we should speed up that process so he can go fight. I’d love to see Ben versus GSP.”

“If the UFC does make an offer, we’ll take a look at it and move on from there. We haven’t been proactive yet. I have nothing but good things to say about Ben as a fighter, but we’re all very aware of how he fights and what he does… It’s not for everyone.”

Rebney frankly described Bellator’s welterweights as being short on wrestling, and long on striking, and attributed that to the Olympian’s dominating success.

“Until the wrestling game evolves they’re going to have big problems with a guy like Ben Askren,” said Rebney. “He does what he does, takes them out of their environment, and that makes for incredibly lopsided fights.”

In an interview with MMAJunkie’s Ben Fowkles, Askren reflects on Rebney’s unusual stance.

“I’m happy, more than anything, that they’re [waiving] the exclusive [negotiating] period, so now I don’t have to sit out 90 days before anything even starts to happen,” said Askren. “That’s definitely a positive thing.”

“Let’s face it, they’ve got these guys they’re trying to bring up, trying to make into stars, and then I outstrike them 248-3 and make them look like they’re a child. It’s pretty tough to make them a star after that.”

“Honestly, I think it could be a ploy on their part to get the UFC to make a lower offer, so when they go to match it’s not as hard.”

“I’m fairly indifferent to what [Rebney] said. I got in MMA for one reason: to see if I could be the best in the world. Actually, he’s doing me a favor if he lets me go to the UFC and test myself. I mean, I wouldn’t be upset that I’m getting paid a bunch of money to beat up guys who aren’t as good as me, but I would like those challenges if it’s possible.”

“I don’t know that there are any challenges left in Bellator, so yeah, I think the only challenges for me are in the UFC.”

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