Considering it was just a few days ago that Dana White relayed he had “no interest” in signing former Bellator champ Ben Askren, fans will likely be a wee bit surprised to hear that “Funky” is reportedly going to meet with the UFC brass.
According to a report from MMA Fighting.com, Askren is heading to Las Vegas to meet with UFC chairman and owner Lorenzo Fertitta on Monday. While that would certainly hint that the promotion might be interested in signing Askren, White insists that’s not the case. The UFC President was quoted saying in the aforementioned report:
“We’re gonna meet with him on Monday,” White said. “We’re just not going to sign him. He can go to World Series of Fighting where there’s actually some competition for him. There’s no competition for him at that other place [Bellator].”
“At least at WSOF he can get some competition and test himself.”
Wow. So one could conclude this might be a negotiating tactic, as a means to lower Askren’s asking price, or the UFC understands that somewhere down the line they’re going to want to have the renowned wrestler in the Octagon. After Bellator recently confirmed that it had ceased negotiations with Askren, and had waived the promotion’s right to match, WSOF extended the undefeated fighter an offer.
Not long after Askren’s Bellator deal ran out, White relayed he was interested in talking to the undefeated fighter, but more recently he’s changed his tune. The 29 year-old hasn’t fought since Bellator 97 in July when he stopped Andrey Koreshkov in round four.