The UFC has historically had a voracious appetite where other organizations are concerned, having cannibalized several rivals or put them out of business altogether. There are a couple exceptions to the rule. RFA, Invicta FC and most recently, World Series of Fighting. It is this amicable interaction that leads to chatter that these "friendlies" might be feeder organizations that have two purposes; to be a home for released fighters and to serve as a farm league for upcoming talent.
The recent comments of UFC president, Dana White have added to that speculation when he stated his reasoning for not signing freshly released welterweight talent, Ben Askren. In an interview with MMA Junkie's John Morgan, White made no bones about the Top 10 ranking he feels Askren undeservedly enjoys, and says that WSOF would be a perfect fit for him at this point in his career.
The meeting went well, he's a nice kid. I've got nothing personal against him. He's a nice guy. You know, we just won't be signing him.
I wasn't even going to say this, because it sounds like I'm just s----ing on them, but there's just no competition for him over at Bellator. There's competition for him at World Series of Fighting. This kid will probably sign with them. I don't know they've got to come to an agreement and a deal. But if he does, there's actual competition for him there.
I think it's crazy that he's ranked in the top 10. He hasn't fought anybody and has no challenges. The best thing that could've ever happened to that kid was leaving Bellator. Now he has the opportunity to go to World Series of Fighting and show what he's got.
Ali Abdel-Aziz, matchmaker at WSOF, recently blasted Bellator CEO, Bjorn Rebney for being disrespectful and said the organization did things in a "scummy, dirty, slimy way" during a recent interview with ESPN's Josh Gross. Transcription via MMA Mania:
You have this guy who is the Bellator champion and then you have this jerk from Bellator, Bjork Rebney or whatever his name is. He talks bad about Ben first saying he is 'boring' and 'one-dimensional' and he is their champion. The reason he is saying that is because he already knows in his mind he is going to release him. I think it's disrespectful to Ben, the guy is an Olympian, there doesn't come a better athlete than this, and listen, he is a one-dimensional fighter but his last two fights were so exciting and the guy brings a lot to the table. He talks, has a good personality, stays active on social media, and for Bellator to do that I think it was disgusting and an embarrassment for the sport to talk bad about your champion just because you know you're going to release him.
They did it in such a scummy, dirty, slimy way. The first thing Rebney did was say he is one-dimensional, that he isn't the most exciting, and then they released him on the 20th anniversary of UFC to make themselves relevant, because honestly, the Bellator name is not relevant in the media, that's just the reality of it. They could have been classy about it, they could have said 'good luck,' but they played this little game with UFC and it really hurt the guy, it didn't hurt Bellator. I think he did a lot for Bellator and I think it's wrong what they did. This is why I don't think they are going to last for long, the time is going to be coming soon for them to leave.
They don't put on fights anyone cares about except Alvarez vs. Chandler. Who cares about other fights? I don't care about it as an MMA fan and listen, I watched the Alvarez vs. Chandler fight because I knew every other fight on the undercard sucked. Realistically, Bellator doesn't have anyone that can fight Askren. We do, we have a lot more competition than they do.
Add to the mix the recent tweet by WSOF president, Ray Sefo, thanking Dana White for the prime tickets to last night's events for himself and Ali Abdel-Aziz, and you have plenty of fuel to add to the inferno of rumors.
Is this just a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend or is there more here than meets the eye?
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