Having most recently released Bellator’s longtime welterweight champion Ben Askren from the promotion, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney explained why he didn’t do the same with lightweight champ Eddie Alvarez. He also had some harsh words for his corporate competitors over at the UFC.
In a recent interview with MMAJunkie.com, Rebney explained his decision to drop Askren and also criticized the UFC for not signing Ben Askren.
“It’s just two totally different fighters – totally, completely different fighters with different personas, different fighting styles, different upsides, different downsides, different fan connections,” Rebney said to MMAJunkie.com. “I don’t know that there are two fighters more different in the MMA space than Eddie Alvarez and Ben Askren.”
Rebney elaborated on the subject of dropping Askren further by explaining that he had discussed issues with the fighter extensively, and in the end, because of Askren’s fighting style, they decided it wasn’t in the best interest of the company to keep him under their banner.
“I made him a series of offers,” claimed the Bellator CEO. “He didn’t feel the offers made sense for him from an economic standpoint, and at that point, it just made sense … to give him his out-and-out release and let him go do whatever he wants.”
Rebney also didn’t shy away from speaking his mind regarding the UFC’s decision not to offer Askren a contract.
“I think it’s disingenuous and ridiculous,” he said, directing his remarks toward UFC President Dana White. “If you stand up consistently at every press conference and in every media scrum and say the greatest fighters in the world fight here, and the No. 6 ranked welterweight in the world becomes available unrestricted with no matching rights – and you don’t even make him an offer – then you need to stop saying the best fighters in the world fight there.”