It has been known for a while now that Bellator FC is going to experiment with allowing their 170lb titleholder Ben Askren to leave. Askren ans Bellator have not really been working on hammering out a contract, and Askren has openly talked in the media about heading to the UFC and even about taking on UFC Champ George St Pierre. This week, Bjorn Rebney promised to wave all rights to Askren if the UFC gives him an immediate title shot at St Pierre. The UFC has not even deemed the proposition worthy of an answer, but you have to give Rebney some credit for trying.
His attempts are poor, as is almost everything Rebney does it falls short. He argues that if the UFC doesnt sign Askren, that they cannot claim to have the best fighters, as Askren is one of the best with his #7 ranking. Really Bjorn? They have 1,2,3,4,5,6 and ,8,9,and 10 and your going to say they cant claim to have the best fighters in the world? They can and will continue to say they have the best fighters in the world, because it is true, and they will continue to ignore you, Bjorn.
The truth is this – whether we like it or not, the George St Pierre era is going to come to an end. If St Pierre gets by Johny Hendricks, which wont be easy, there are a lot of guys on the UFC roster who must see an aging champion who has fallen into a rut of fighting to control and not to finish. The UFC doesnt need Askren to usher in a new era, it will be done by Carlos Condit, Jake Ellenberger or Rory McDonald or Hector Lombard or Nick Diaz – you get my point?
Askren is one of the guys who could have a chance at beating St Pierre, but he is in the wrong place at the wrong time. If Askren comes in and beats St Pierre he lends instant legitimacy to Bellator by default. The fact that he had absolutely no competition and that the flawed tournament format Bellator uses does not temper championship aspirants when they have no talent depth will show itself.
The UFC ignoring Bellator is the right response, because deep down they know that Askren could beat St Pierre.