As December begins, there’s still no clear indication as to where former Bellator champ Ben Askren is going to fight next, but World Series of Fighting appears to be the front runner. After all, Bellator recently waived it’s matching rights for the undefeated fighter, and Dana White has insisted he’s not interested in “Funky” yet, and that he should sign with WSOF.
While appearing on a recent edition of ESPN’s Gross Point Blank podcast, WSOF matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz was asked about Askren, and the recent reports he’s been offered a contract by the promotion. From there, however, it didn’t take long for Abddel-Aziz to make it clear that he isn’t fan of Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney (comments transcribed by MMA Mania):
“I really feel bad for Ben Askren right now and the things he is going through. I love the sport so much, but sometimes I get disgusted with some of the things people do. You have this guy who is the Bellator champion and then you have this jerk from Bellator, Bjorn Rebney or whatever his name is. He talks bad about Ben first saying he is ‘boring’ and ‘one-dimensional’ and he is their champion. The reason he is saying that is because he already knows in his mind he is going to release him. I think its disrespectful to Ben, the guy is an Olympian, there doesn’t come a better athlete than this, and listen, he is a one-dimensional fighter but his last two fights were so exciting and the guy brings a lot to the table. He talks, has a good personality, stays active on social media and for Bellator to do that I think it was disgusting and an embarrassment for the sport to talk bad about your champion just because you know you’re going to release him.”
Wow. Things are heating up. There’s no doubt that Askren is an extremely talented self promoter, and the dominant wrestler is coming off consecutive stoppage wins. Abdel-Aziz also argued that Bellator hasn’t had any big fights, aside from Alvarez-Chandler, and that “people are more excited now to watch Glory than Bellator.”
As far as Bellator’s fanbase, however, it should be noted that several of the promotion’s recent fights, like “Rampage” Jackson-Joey Beltran and Alexander Shlemenko-Doug Marshall, drew some pretty decent ratings (aside from the great numbers Chandler-Alvarez II pulled).