Since completing his final fight with Bellator MMA, Ben Askren has been left in contract limbo. Bellator relieved him of his exclusive negotiation period shortly after his July, but no offer ever came from the UFC. Last week Bellator went further and officially released him from the organization giving up their contractual matching rights. Askren has remained hopeful in waiting for a UFC offer, but the promotion's president Dana White says he has no interest in signing the Welterweight champion.
White reiterated the sentiment in a media scrum following UFC 167. However, Askren is apparently willing to deal. He had an interesting proposition when he appeared on The MMA Hour on Monday:
"Rory MacDonald is a guy who really irks me," Askren said. "He bugs me. It was really nice to see him get knocked of his pedestal Saturday night."
"But if Dana White was willing, if I lost to him I would fight for free retire from the sport of MMA, because that's how confident I am."
MacDonald is coming off a split decision loss to Robbie Lawler at UFC 167 on Saturday. The defeat was only Rory's second in the Octagon. He lost in his second UFC fight to Carlos Condit but recovered with a 5-fight win streak before running into Lawler.
It's a good call out from Askren. A match against MacDonald would be high profile and a win would place him amongst the top of the UFC's 170 lb. division. As an undefeated champion and former Olympian, Askren would typically be of interest to the UFC. However it looks like he's caught in the midst of a rivalry between White/Zuffa and Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. It's possible that White will back down eventually, but it's equally possible that Askren will have to pick up wins outside the Octagon before fighting for the UFC.