When Ben Askren's ONE FC deal was first reported here on BloodyElbow.com, many fans hoped that it would be a brief interlude between his Bellator exit and a UFC deal. Now, it appears that he'll be sewn up for the forseeable future at his new home in Singapore. Askren told Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour that he is locked in to a 6 fight, 2 year deal with the Asian MMA promotion. But that's not all. Askren himself also says that it was Dana White's push-back that made him eager to sign with another promotion (transcription via Bleacher Report):
According to Askren, though, it was Dana's suggestion that ultimately pushed him to join ONE. "I thought we were going to come to a deal [with the UFC]," he said. "It's clear that it isn't about me, it's about Dana's quarrel with Bellator." When a WSOF contract slid over his desk after being officially shot down by the UFC, though, he refused to let them call the shots for him, "I've got a really hard time with people telling me what to do, and if I'm you're employee, I'm going to listen to you...but now I'm not your employee and you're telling me what to do? That's crazy.
Askren's got a good point. With White making no moves to sign him (and quite possibly trying to drive down his price) Askren is better served to get out in front of the situation. At 29 years old and only 4 years in to his MMA career this may put him in a much better position in the long term. Of course, for that to happen, he'll have to keep to his winning ways.
He's currently been in a twitter battle with Phil Baroni, but it's a matchup that makes little sense beyond promotional heat. No date for his ONE FC debut has been announced, but stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for further updates.
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