White not playing Bellator's games

Olympic wrestler Ben Askren
Ben Askren is willing to sit out to get a chance in the big leagues.
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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.


Offer made, offer declined — with extreme prejudice.

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told his welterweight champion and restricted free agent Ben Askren that if he could get a title shot on day one in the UFC, he would allow him to leave the promotion immediately while waiving all matching rights.

Askren is currently out of contract after completing the last fight on his deal with the company in July, but Bellator still has matching rights for any offer he receives from another company. The time period for the matching rights has not been confirmed, but it's rumored to last for around one year from the date of his final fight.

For several years, Askren has been talking about an eventual showdown with UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, but so long as he was under contract to Bellator the fight could never materialize.

Well, don't expect St-Pierre vs. Askren to happen any time soon because UFC president Dana White wants no part of Rebney's games and frankly he's done talking about a promotion he considers irrelevant.

"I don't give a s—t what they're doing. They don't matter and I don't care," White said. "They're playing f—king games. I don't care what they're doing. It doesn't matter."

White isn't sure what the motivation is for Bellator to let one of their champions go so freely if he really is one of their best fighters. Either way, don't count on White handing out a contract with a title shot attached to Askren any time soon.

"When you're willing to let your f—king champion go? It's weird," White said.

Askren remains on the sidelines in terms of his fight career until a new contract can be negotiated, but he will got back to his wrestling roots on October 27 in Las Vegas as part of the AGON Wrestling Championships where he takes on fellow former NCAA champion Quentin Wright in the main event.

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