Ben Askren very well may be one of the best welterweight fighters on the planet but Dana White has no interest in signing him to the UFC roster.
With Bellator releasing word their 170-pound champion has officially become an unrestricted free agent, the spotlight shifted to the UFC and what moves—if any—they would make to pursue the undefeated Duke Roufus-trained fighter.
Never one to beat around the proverbial bush, the UFC President addressed the manner head on when asked by a member of the MMA media during his scrum following Thursday's press conference for UFC 167. White was asked if he would be looking to bring the undefeated former Missouri University wrestling standout under the UFC banner and the UFC head honcho wasted no time in letting his stance on the matter be known.
"This doesn't change anything," White said. "I have no interest. I'm sure [WSOF] will pick him up. He's [Bellator's] champion and they don't want him. What does that say? What does that mean? I don't even care about those guys whatsoever. I feel sorry for the kids that fight there. I truly feel sorry for the kids that have to be stuck in that sh**hole. And the fact you would just give away a guy who has gone undefeated for you just shows the kind of people you are. It just shows what kind of business you do.
"As far as the kid and what kind of level he's on, he barely beat Jay Hieron. He's got some work to do and he can fight in another organization and work his way up."
Since winning the belt in 2010, the 29-year-old former Olympian has enjoyed a dominant reign under the Bellator banner, as he's successfully defended his strap on four occasions. That said, the relationship between Askren and the organization he champions has not always been the smoothest, as the former two-time NCAA Div. I national champion wrestler has complained about Bellator's inability to keep him busy.
After logging four fights on his run to the welterweight title in 2010, his cage time has been sparse in the years that have followed. Askren fought twice in 2011 and only once last year, as he's waited for Bellator's tournament format to produce title challengers.
With the UFC not showing interest and Bellator willing to let him go, Askren could very well find a home at World Series of Fighting. The Ray Sefo-lead promotion has been making strong moves since rolling out their debut show in 2012 and have picked up other big named free agents the likes of Yushin Okami and Jon Fitch.
Askren has logged an impressive record of 12-0 with his most recent showing resulting in a fourth-round stoppage victory over Andrey Koreshkov at Bellator 97 in July.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report.
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