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11/15/13 7:20 AM
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Underground Blog
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MixedMartialArts.com
 

When Bellator unconditionally released their welterweight champion Ben Askren yesterday following weeks of posturing, Askren was excited to join the UFC.

"I am now free to go to the @UFC and beat whoever I want," he tweeted.

However, UFC President Dana White said emphatically that he was not interested in Askren, and held Bellator in contempt.

"No interest," said White, as transcribed by MMAFighting. "As far as the kid, as far as the level he's on? He barely beat Jay Hieron, you know? He's got some work to do, he can fight in another organization and work his way up and go from there."

White also expressed unbridled disdain for Bellator.

"He's their champion and they don't want him. What does that tell you?" asked White. "They don't even care... The fact that they would just give away a guy who was undefeated, it just shows what kind of people you are."

White additonally expressed empathy for fighters under contract to Bellator, referring to the league as "that s---hole."

Now Askren has responded.

“(Dana) said he was interested two months ago, nothing had changed. We will see what happens.”

“Dana’s a businessman, so I’m sure he sees the value that I can bring to the organization because they haven’t brought in a high-level 170-pounder in a while, so I think it would bring a lot of new and exciting matchups to the division."

The 29-year-old fighter also labeled himself the No. 6 170-pound fighter. His ideal scenario, however, is to fight immediately for a title.

“But if they offer me someone else good, Condit, Shields or whoever, I’m good with that,” said Askren. “Obviously, I don’t want to have to fight a couple of scrubs.”

Asked whether a move to the UFC was in the back of his mind during talks with Bellator, he said, “It’s always in my mind that I want to be the No. 1 fighter in the world, and however I can accomplish that, I’ll accomplish that.”

Read entire article...

Askren later addressed White's remark about Jay Hieron. Askren beat Hieron via split decision at Bellator 56 on 10/29/2011.

"To anyone who points to my Jay Heiron WIN to discredit my abilities consider this," said Askren. "At that point I was LESS than 3 years into my career and relatively inexperienced despite already being the Bellator Champion. I had a tough fight against the #16 ranked fight in the world(at the time) and was able to get the job done. I have learned and progressed significantly since then.

"As a point of reference the man fighting for the WW UFC Belt this weekend Johny Hendricks LOST a Unanimous Dec fight to Rick Story(who wasn't near the top 16 at that point) after fighting for MORE than 3 years.

"Moral of story high level wrestlers progress rapidly through their career. Despite my inexperience at the time I was able get the job done against a high level experienced fighter. I am significantly better than I was then and will continue to get the job done against any WW put in front of me."


11/15/13 7:33 AM
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Shoryuken Rw
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I think Dana will stick to his guns and not take Askren. How would it look if the UFC picked up a fighter Bellator pretty much threw away like garbage?

But personally I say take him and put him against a strong wrestler, maybe Shields or Johny if he loses. Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 7:33 AM
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Chris Leben is a Zombie
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I wouldn't mind Shields or Hendricks vs Askren

But I really do not want to see this guy in the UFC Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 7:36 AM
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Kirik
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The UnderGround, Mayor

Askren may get sick of MMA, and retire. Otherwise, he has to sign with say WSOF, get a couple of fights, get of that contract, and go to the UFC, and work his way up. In a sport where anything can happen, that is a long route. I would not be surprised if he just moves on to the next chapter of his life.

11/15/13 7:45 AM
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brahmabull81
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The sad part is that due to how high the level of wrestling ability of the 170 pounders (for the most part) is in the UFC, he would actually probably be in some exciting matchups.

The guys are much more well rounded and most top 10 guys would force him to show more of whats hes been working on in the gym and actually test him.
11/15/13 7:47 AM
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British101
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Stick him on the ultimate fighter Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 7:47 AM
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SNewman
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I still think UFC end up signing him. Dana's posturing is probably more about being concerned that Bellator will pull a weasel move somehow. Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 7:48 AM
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Sinful1
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Chris Leben is a Zombie - I wouldn't mind Shields or Hendricks vs Askren

But I really do not want to see this guy in the UFC Phone Post 3.0

.
11/15/13 7:53 AM
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Eisenberg
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Askren isnt that boring. Yes his fights will always be wrestling heavy, but for the most part he's always moving, etc. His last fight had a bunch of interesting scrambles and he did end up making the other guy quit...

He should get his shot in the UFC. Not the most exciting guy but he is UFC level for sure.
11/15/13 8:24 AM
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GrotesK
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Has anyone been watching TUF? What has dana been saying? He can't stand one dimensional fighters.. What's askren? A one dimensional fighter from the b league, there's absolutely no appeal for him. The best thing he can do is develop his game and show he's interested in becoming a well rounded UFC level fighter. If he's to ignorant to realise this he dosnt deserve to be anywhere near the UFC. Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 8:36 AM
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Ramon Maroni
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I cant believe somehow he wont be in the UFC
11/15/13 8:41 AM
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the_sandman
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TUF is my prediction
11/15/13 8:47 AM
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ILoveWatchingJonesBoneShogun
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make a time machine and put him on UFC 1
11/15/13 8:52 AM
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cool hand Ed
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Eisenberg - Askren isnt that boring. Yes his fights will always be wrestling heavy, but for the most part he's always moving, etc. His last fight had a bunch of interesting scrambles and he did end up making the other guy quit...

He should get his shot in the UFC. Not the most exciting guy but he is UFC level for sure.

I agree with this exactly.
11/15/13 8:52 AM
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TheDigitalRuler
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"He's their champion and they don't want him. What does that tell you?"

Was Dana actually able to keep a straight face when he said this? Or has he forgetten that the UFC let Murilo Bustamante, Jens Pulver, and BJ Penn go when they were champs?
11/15/13 8:55 AM
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Kirik
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I think the only reason Askren's fights were not fan friendly is not that Ben as one dimensional, it is that Bellator welterweight Russian kickboxers are missing the wrestling dimension. The level of wrestling in the UFC welterweight division is just fine, and would force Askren's striking, which I understand is quite good, to finally be showcased.

I think Ben Askren would be an awesome addition to the roster. I am just bummed that the difficulties with Bellator interfered.

11/15/13 8:56 AM
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MMALOGIC
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Sign Askren and feed him to Amagov.

11/15/13 9:09 AM
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cool hand Ed
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MMALOGIC - 

Sign Askren and feed him to Amagov.


AMAGOV WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO


AMAGOV WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
11/15/13 9:09 AM
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BRZ
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Why was Ben let go? Was he asking for too much money? Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 9:11 AM
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liquidrob
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Kirik - 

I think the only reason Askren's fights were not fan friendly is not that Ben as one dimensional, it is that Bellator welterweight Russian kickboxers are missing the wrestling dimension. The level of wrestling in the UFC welterweight division is just fine, and would force Askren's striking, which I understand is quite good, to finally be showcased.

I think Ben Askren would be an awesome addition to the roster. I am just bummed that the difficulties with Bellator interfered.


You know he has only fought one "Russian Kickboxer" in Bellator?

11/15/13 9:15 AM
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Mark Hunts Pet Monkey
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Dana is probably just testing the waters with these statements. That seems to be his MO, make some strongly worded comments, and then gauge the public reaction. Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 9:25 AM
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The Lurker Below
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Pathetic that an Org can pretty much retire a 12-0 Olympian because of his style (yet Jake shields can main event a card?)

This is still somewhat a sport and I want to see the best athletes...
11/15/13 9:31 AM
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Tomato Can
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Hopefully this is all just bluster from Dana and Askren will sign soon.

Askren isn't as boring as people claim. He beat the piss out of Amassou and I thought it was very entertaining watching him ragdoll Koreshkov.

Yes, he barely beat Hieron (I actually had it 3-2 Hieron) but that fight was over 2 years ago. He's obviously improved since then.
11/15/13 9:37 AM
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OnlyTheStrongSurvive
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BRZ - Why was Ben let go? Was he asking for too much money? Phone Post 3.0
They don't have anyone good enough to fight him but don't want him as champ. Phone Post 3.0
11/15/13 9:56 AM
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RampageFitsLikeAGlove
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OnlyTheStrongSurvive - 
BRZ - Why was Ben let go? Was he asking for too much money? Phone Post 3.0
They don't have anyone good enough to fight him but don't want him as champ. Phone Post 3.0

No the reason he was let go is because Bjorn was doing him a favor.  Per Askren, he was offered a contract from Bellator and turned it down because, to paraphrase, "it's not about money and I want to fight the best in the world.  That is in the UFC."  Instead of making him wait out the matching clause (and have a potential Alvarez redo) until July of 2014, they released him so he can sign with whoever he wants.  Also, he and his manager Duke Roufus requested the release.

He better hope someone comes calling or asking for his release and turning down Bellator's offer might not look like the best choice.


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