clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dana White: UFC has 'no interest' in Ben Askren, 'feels sorry' for Bellator 'kids'

Meet Ben Askren, ridiculously talented wrestler who has become a pawn in the fight between UFC and Bellator. His options now? Get laundered through World Series of Fighting (WSOF) before earning an Octagon opportunity.

Photo couresy of Bellator

Ben Askren boasts a perfect mixed martial arts (MMA) record (12-0), claiming the Bellator Welterweight title back in 2010 and defending the strap on four separate occasions since that time.

His reward? Bellator released "Funky" earlier today because, according to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney, he "is completely one-dimensional fighter who is utterly dominant in that dimension."

In other words, Askren is a ridiculous wrestler (watch him school recent national collegiate champion Quenton Wright here) and the promotion is simply disinterested in promoting him in the future because, well, he's just too good at wrestle-fucking more marketable talent.

Rebney actually baited Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) during Askren's free agent match period, declaring that it would relinquish all legal ties if he was rewarded with an immediate 170-pound title shot inside the Octagon. White and Co. didn't bite then, and according to, UFC is not about to nibble now.

White explains:

"This doesn't change anything. I have no interest. I'm sure [WSOF] will pick him up. He's [Bellator's] champion and they don't want him. What does that say? What does that mean? I don't even care about those guys whatsoever. I feel sorry for the kids that fight there. I truly feel sorry for the kids that have to be stuck in that sh**hole. And the fact you would just give away a guy who has gone undefeated for you just shows the kind of people you are. It just shows what kind of business you do.... As far as the kid and what kind of level he's on, he barely beat Jay Hieron. He's got some work to do and he can fight in another organization and work his way up."

Askren undoubtedly has an incredible ability to win fights thanks to his unparallelled wrestling base. He is much like Antonio McKee -- who UFC actually extended an audition (which he didn't pass) in 2011 -- but he apparently won't be afforded the same opportunity.

And that's most likely because of cat-and-mouse game between UFC and Bellator that reached a bitter crescendo when Eddie Alvarez defeated Michael Chandler earlier this month at Bellator 106 (full details here). In short, UFC pursued Alvarez during his free agent period last year and Bellator matched it, although it was not considered apples-to-apples and ultimately devolved into a costly legal tug-of-war.

Nonetheless, UFC is sending a clear message that Bellator's most dominant champion is not Octagon-ready. Indeed, White would rather have Askren "work his way up" even though his promotion is signing international prospects left, right and sideways who are far less inferior to Askren.

That's apparently the cost of doing business with Bellator ... aspiring MMA fighters beware.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania