MMA Junkie sat down with the now-former Bellator champion Ben Askren. And boy, that guy isn't happy.
The wrestling specialist was famously turned away by the UFC after securing his release from Bellator, and he's placing the blame squarely on UFC President Dana White.
"In all honesty, I think if you put a 15-man tournament together, I think I could be the best fighter in the world right now," Askren said, per MMA Junkie's Steven Marrocco. "I’m not going to get a chance to prove that because one bald-headed fat man chooses not to let me in."
Those are harsh words, but they are by no means unprovoked. The UFC president is a notorious fan of "just bleed" fighting styles, hyping up flailing, loss-prone strikers like Leonard Garcia while defending the inexplicable releases of successful grinders like Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami.
A plodding wrestler like Askren, who is known for his smothering wrestling, is not the sort of fighter White likes, in spite of his obvious talents, flawless record and legitimate shot at winning the belt. He also discussed this with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour.
With MMA Junkie, Askren also opened up a bit more on his deal with his new promotion, Singapore's One FC.
"I’m going to make more than six figures in my next fight. Any way you cut it, that’s a lot of damn money," he boasted. "I like to train every day, so even if I retired, I would still train in some form."
Indeed, that is a lot of money. In fact, the only fighters who made six figures at the UFC's most recent pay-per-view event, UFC 167, were Georges St-Pierre, Johny Hendricks, Rashad Evans, Chael Sonnen, Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley and Donald Cerrone (that list includes the often-pointed-to Fight Night bonuses). The other 18 fighters on the card made as little as $8,000.
Askren still does not have an opponent lined up for his One FC debut, but the most likely candidates are UFC veteran Phil Baroni or Japanese standout Nobutatsu Suzuki.
Dana White will almost certainly fire back at Askren in the near future.
Stick with Bleacher Report for more details as they become available.
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