Dana White has 'no interest' in pursuing Ben Askren
NOV 14, 2013 7:53p ET
Former Olympian Ben Askren is now officially a free agent with the ability to sign with any promotion, but the UFC will not be one of his suitors.
Bellator formally announced on Thursday that they were releasing Askren from his contract along with waiving any and all matching rights they had to the most dominant welterweight champion the promotion has ever had.
Despite his new free agency, UFC president Dana White says nothing has changed in their views of Askren or their desire to pursue him now that he can sign with any promotion.
"It doesn't change anything. No interest," White said about Askren.
It says a lot about a fighter when the promotion who touts Askren as their champion isn't even willing to bring him back according to White, and while he does sympathize with his situation, the UFC just doesn't want him at this point in time.
"They don't want him. It's their champion and they don't want him, what does that say? I don't even care," White said. "I don't even care about those guys whatsoever. I feel sorry for the kids that fight there. I truly feel sorry for the kids that have to be stuck in that sât hole. The fact that you would just give away a guy who has gone undefeated for you, it just shows what kind of people you are, what kind of business you do."
The other underlying factor that White believes is still the biggest reason they won't go after Askren is because he doesn't believe the former Olympian is developed enough to land in the UFC right now.
Askren has gone undefeated with a perfect 12-0 record while competing in Bellator, but White doesn't believe he's had the kind of quality wins that put him on the same level as the fighters in the UFC.
"As far as the level he's on, he barely beat Jay Hieron," White said. "He's got some work to do, he can fight in another organization and work his way up."
The news will probably not sit well with Askren, who has been gunning for a chance to compete in the UFC for several years. It's unclear if another promotion will actively pursue Askren or if he continue to pursue his new role as a wrestler in the recently formed professional league Agon Wrestling Championships.