Bellator MMA crowned Ben Askren welterweight champion in 2010 and since that time, Askren has compiled a perfect 12-0 record. He honored his contract but one would assume a current champion would resign with their current promotion, maybe even get a raise, but that wasn’t the case in this scenario.
Bellator and Askren have been unable to reach an agreement and he has been released from the company with no strings attached, so he can immediately sign with another promotion and fight as soon as possible. Bellator CEO, Bjorn Rebney spoke about the release of Askren:
“I’ve said it many times, Ben’s a completely one-dimensional fighter who is utterly dominant in that dimension. I had a number of discussions with Ben and it became clear it was time for both parties to move in different directions. We’ve relinquished any right to match here and Ben can sign with whoever he chooses to sign with. Ben’s been at Bellator since the start of his career, I respect him and what he’s accomplished and wish him the best wherever he goes.”
The obvious choice would be for Askren to head to the UFC. He was been vocal about facing UFC Welterweight Champion George St-Pierre in the past, so there may be more on the line at UFC 167 than originally thought. The ball appears to be in Dana White’s court.
As for Bellator’s now vacant welterweight title, that will be decided in the coming months as Douglas Lima will await the winner of Bellator’s Season 9 Welterweight Tournament.
H/T: MMA Mania