Ben Askren sounded like he was off his rocker when he told the mixed martial arts (MMA) community that he would sign with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and fight Georges St-Pierre next year in Montreal.
But since reports of the Olympian’s pending trade to the Endeavor-owned combat sport promotion were not generated by promotion president Dana White, they might be more than just another “blatant lie.”
“There is a proposed deal on the table for the UFC to release former flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson from his contract in order to allow him to sign with ONE,” ESPN’s Ariel Helwani wrote. “In return, ONE will release former welterweight champion Ben Askren from his contract so he could finally join the UFC.”
Askren (18-0, 1 NC) held the welterweight title for ONE before hanging up the gloves in late 2017. “Funky” was also the 170-pound champion for Bellator MMA — pre Scott Coker — before making his move to the financially fertile grounds of Asia.
As for Johnson (27-3-1), he ruled the 125-pound roost for over six years before Henry Cejudo upended him by way of split decision last August. “Mighty Mouse” has not been shy about detailing his “mistreatment” by the UFC brass, so a move to another promotion would not come as much of a shock.
If and when this “trade” does happen, don’t expect Askren to do much groveling, because that’s just “disgusting.”