Ben Askren (12-0) officially has a new home.
“I’ll be headed over to ONE FC,” he stated.
The former Bellator welterweight champion has signed a 2-year, 6-fight deal with Asian-based promotion ONE FC. He announced the news officially on the MMA Hour.
Askren was released from Bellator on November 14th seemingly paving the way for a deal with the UFC to be made after Askren publicly commented on fighting UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre and his teammate Rory MacDonald. He even went so far as to say he’d fight the latter for free and retire with a loss.
UFC president Dana White replied by saying that the UFC showed little interest in signing Askren. Askren stated that he thought about retiring later that night after his meeting with the UFC as they called him to tell him they were no longer interested in signing him.
Askren may have made the news obvious earlier this month as he moved to the Evolve MMA camp in Singapore to end his camps leading up to his fights.
His first fight for the promotion is still unknown although he states that he will likely make his debut in March or April of next year.
Askren didn’t stop at a simple announcement. “It’s not about me, it’s about Dana’s quarrel with Bjorn and Bellator,” on why the deal wasn’t made with the UFC.
“He’s an idiot. He’s so bad at MMA. He’s not even in the top 200 in the world,” Askren said about now divisional companion Phil Baroni. The two men exchanged in a war of words in Twitter that quickly turned personal. For ONE FC, this could mean a first fight for Askren that would be based on organic hype, not merit.
Askren also made sure to comment on the UFC and their president Dana White who suggested Askren go to the World Series of Fighting. He stated that White’s disinterest in signing him hurt a potential move to the promotion although, if what Askren said about what he’s being paid with ONE FC is true, then money then a move to ONE FC might just make sense. He stated that while looking at recent fighter payouts from UFC events, he estimated that he is paid more than 85% of the fighters per event.
“Monetarily, they [ONE FC] gave me some big money,” Askren said about his new deal.