Ben Askren won't get the chance to prove himself as the world's best welterweight, but with the money he will be making, he can probably buy a few votes to swing his way.
Speaking with Sports Illustrated, Askren detailed his new contract with ONE FC as well as cleared up a few rumors with his discussions with the UFC.
Askren will be making a guaranteed $50,000 just to show up for his first bout with ONE FC. There's another $50,000 to be awarded as a win bonus if Askren can find his hand raised.
The former Bellator champ also has an incentive clause that raises his purse should he continue his winning ways.
He also squashed the idea that signing with ONE FC would require him to move to Southeast Asia after signing a deal to train at Evolve MMA:
"That's a separate deal," said Askren. "Evolve MMA is sponsoring me and I'll go there and train two weeks before my fights. Their coaches will corner me."
The SI piece points out that among Evolve MMA's coaches is Heath Sims, former head trainer at Team Quest and an Olympic wrestler of his own from the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Askren also pointed out that Evolve MMA's owner, Chatri Sityodtong, is friends with Duke Roufus. In other words, Askren will still be a part of Roufusport and has cleared everything through the proper channels.
The former Bellator champ also gave some insight into what happened when his management and the UFC talked to one another.
"I have other sources of income and if they had said eight [thousand] and eight [thousand win bonus pay], I would have told them to f--- off, but I'm not going to say I need Hector Lombard money," Askren said. "If the offer had been anywhere within the point of reason, I would have been game."
For now, Askren's goals of being the best fighter in his division are effectively put on hold. He still sports a 12-0 professional record to go along with his amateur wrestling credentials and has a Bellator belt to his credit.
Askren will almost certainly pad his record with wins as the level of competition in ONE FC is considerably lower than in Bellator or World Series of Fighting, which also offered Askren a deal.
You can't really fault Askren for taking the ONE FC deal considering the money he'll be making, given that the UFC offer was off the table.
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