Bellator put up a significant fight to keep lightweight Eddie Alvarez on the organization’s roster, going so far as to file suit as a means of staking their claim to the former champion’s rights. Interestingly enough, it doesn’t look like the promotion will make a similar effort when it comes to retaining the services of unbeaten welterweight title-holder Ben Askren.
Askren’s deal with Bellator recently expired and, based on recent statements from CEO Bjorn Rebney, it appears the 29-year old’s time in the company has as well.
“I don’t think we’re going to make an offer at this point. So I don’t see any reason to make anybody sit out,” said Rebney in an interview with ESPN. “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 Georges St-Pierre.”
While Rebney respects Askren’s abilities, he doesn’t believe fans are thirsting for takedowns and top control.
“Until the wrestling game evolves (fighters) going to have big problems with a guy like Ben Askren. He does what he does, takes them out of their environment, and that makes for incredibly lopsided fights,” explained Rebney. “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.”
Askren has won all twelve of his tilts since transitioning from a decorated career as a wrestler including an Olympic run. During his nine-fight run in Bellator he beat the likes of Lyman Good, Douglas Lima, and Karl Amoussou. Despite criticism regarding Askren’s approach to victory, “Funky” has finished his last two opponents via TKO including one stemming from a lopsided performance against Andrey Koreshkov in his most recent match-up.