Free agent Askren hints at UFC move

Brett Okamoto
November 14, 2013
Ben Askren has not been resigned by Bellator © AP

Ben Askren officially became an unrestricted free agent on Thursday, and immediately hinted at a move to the UFC.

Bellator Fighting Championships have announced they would not resign the welterweight champion. No deal with the UFC has been announced, although Askren did reference the promotion on his Twitter account.

Bellator will waive their contractual matching rights on Askren, who has fought for the company since 2010. The Bellator 170-pound title will remain vacant until Douglas Lima faces the winner of the Season 9 welterweight tournament early next year.

"I had a number of discussions with Ben and it became clear it was time for both parties to move in different directions," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney said in a statement. "We've relinquished any fight to match here and Ben can sign with whoever he chooses to sign with. Ben's been at Bellator since the start of his career. I respect him and what he's accomplished and wish him the best wherever he goes."

Askren (12-0) won the Bellator title in October 2010 and made four successful defences. He finished out his contract in July with a TKO victory over Andrey Koreshkov.

Last month, Rebney told ESPN he would waive matching rights on Askren if the UFC were to tender an offer that included an immediate title shot. UFC president Dana White quickly dismissed the idea.

This article originally appeared on ESPN.com
Download ESPN's new UK sport app, a fresh and powerful new way to follow your favourite UK sports news, scores and video.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd