It appears that Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is going to keep up the pressure on the UFC.
Just one day after saying he would let Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren walk away from the promotion if the UFC agreed to give Askren an immediate title shot, Rebney is wondering where is the UFC's response.
We'll see what they do. I've heard no response from them at all, which is unusual and an anomaly. I think it puts them in a difficult spot to claim the best fighters fight in the UFC.
Rebney contends that the UFC's claims that the best fighters in MMA fight under the UFC banner is false:
The UFC consistently says the best fighters in the world fight in the UFC. They don't. I believe Michael Chandler is the best lightweight in MMA and that Pat Curran is one of the top-two featherweights in the world. [Eduardo] Dantas is a freak. Askren is in the top six or seven. So, if you're going to make that statement, when one of the top six or seven [welterweights] in the world becomes available, you've got to pick up the phone and make him an offer, or you can't continue to say, ‘The best fighters in the world fight here,' because they don't.
Rebney may be overplaying his hand when it comes to Askren and the UFC. Rebney is obviously trying to pressure the UFC into signing Askren. It's also obvious that if the UFC does not sign Askren and offer him an immediate title fight, Rebney will use that fact to endlessly repeat that all of the best fighters don't fight for the UFC.
The fact is, the welterweight division is deep right now in the UFC. Because of that depth, the UFC is not in desperate need to bring Askren into the fold, no matter how often Rebney tries to get fans thinking that the UFC is afraid to sign Askren.
Rebney may win the battle he has conjured up with the UFC, but what will the spoils be? Maybe he'll be able to claim that only 99 percent of the best fighters fight for the UFC, and that the other one percent fight for Bellator. Is that a real victory?
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