Since being released by Bellator on November 14th, former welterweight champ Ben Askren has been a free agent. Many expected him to go over to the UFC, but UFC President Dana White said he has no interest in signing the undefeated welterweight. With that option now off the table, the only sensible alternative for the twenty-nine year old prospect is to sign with the World Series of Fighting, and recent comments by the organization’s matchmaker, Ali Abdel-Aziz, have revealed that the organization has some sympathy for the former champ.
Here is an excerpt of what Abdel-Aziz said about Askren and Rebney from 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, Bjork 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.”
Aziz elaborated on the matter further by placing most of the blame on Rebney and attacking his character as well:
“Bjorn Rebney is just not a good guy, he’s just not. I dealt with him when I managed guys and he is just not a good guy. I think Viacom is a great platform and Spike is amazing. I think people are more excited now to watch Glory than Bellator.”
The WSOF has not officially signed Askren yet, but these recent comments have hinted that they could be leaning in that direction. Unless Dana White changes his mind and offers Askren a contract, we might see him fighting under the WSOF banner in the near future.