Report: Bellator will waive contractual rights to Ben Askren if 'Funky' gets immediate UFC title shot

Bellator MMA

The ball, it would appear, is in Dana White's court.

If Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) wants to sign former Bellator MMA Welterweight Champion Ben Askren, it can, as nobody over at Viacom or Spike TV will interfere with the potential signing.

There's just one teeny-tiny caveat.

Askren's first fight inside the Octagon must be against Georges St-Pierre for the UFC 170-pound strap. Or, depending on how the main event shakes out at the UFC 167 pay-per-view (PPV) next month in Las Vegas, Nevada (details), surging division contender Johny Hendricks.

That's what Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told Josh Gross at

Rebney told me he'd let Askren walk, waive any matching rights, if UFC offers the Bellator welterweight champ a title shot in his 1st fight.

I'm not holding my breath.

Askren (12-0) watched his contract expire following a technical knockout win over Andrey Koreshkov last July (details), and briefly considered retirement after finding himself in contractual limbo. The two-time NCAA champion, however, was quick to reassure mixed martial arts (MMA) fans that he was not calling it quits until be "beats up" St. Pierre.

Crazier things have happened.

Gilbert Melendez was granted an immediate title shot after being imported from Strikeforce and former PRIDE kingpin Fedor Emelianenko was offered a crack at the crown in his very first fight, one that never came to be for a variety of contractual reasons.

I don't expect this to be any different.

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