Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren is currently a free agent and UFC President Dana White and Bellator MMA Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney have different stories on where everything stands with Askren.
During the UFC World Tour event in Miami on Friday, White told TheMMAReport.com that the UFC has not talked to Askren at this time and it “might not even happen.”
Rebney has previously stated that Askren was free to talk to the UFC about a potential contract offer. However, White called Rebney a liar in saying the exclusive negotiating period was over.
“These guys over at Viacom MMA cut bad deals,” White said. “These guys are under nasty contracts where they literally can not talk to other people.”
Following last night’s Bellator 101, TheMMAReport.com asked Rebney for an update on the Askren situation and started off by saying he felt the UFC would make an offer for the Bellator champion.
“We got a little of conflicting information initially,” Rebney said. “I heard and we all heard that the UFC was interested in Ben because he is the sixth ranked welterweight in the world and they were going to make an offer.”
Rebney would confirm that Askren is allowed to talk to the UFC about a potential contract offer, Rebney says there was a “turnabout” and the UFC has decided to not make an offer.
“Ben and I just talked and I said look as opposed to us just negotiating back and fourth, you want to see what they are going to offer, just go find out and we will determine if we are going match it or not. Apparently there was a turnabout and they decide to not make an offer or at least that has what’s been said recently.”
The UFC and Bellator has been through this situation a couple of times recently including contract offers for Hector Lombard and Eddie Alvarez. Bellator elected to not match the contract offer that Lombard received from the UFC and did match the contract offer that Alvarez received.
Has the UFC decided to not make Askren an offer after what happened with Alvarez? Will Askren wait for Bellator’s matching rights to expire? Only time will tell on what the UFC and Askren decides to do.