Dana White: “Believe Me, Ben Askren Does Not Want to Fight in the UFC”

December 19, 2014
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There have been many critical of the UFC’s signing of former professional wrestler Phil “CM Punk” Brooks, but none bigger than ONE FC welterweight champion Ben Askren.

The undefeated Askren is one of the most accomplished wrestlers competing in mixed martial arts today. While at the University of Missouri, Askren won two NCAA Division I National Championships. In his four-year collegiate wresting career, the Wisconsin native only lost to two competitors, Chris Pendleton and Ryan Lange. He competed in the 2008 Olympic Summer Games.

In February 2009, Askren transitioned into MMA. He won the Bellator Season 2 Welterweight Tournament in 2010, earning a shot at then-champion Lyman Good. He defeated Good at Bellator 33 by unanimous decision and defended the title four times.

Following Bellator 97, Askren’s contract with Bellator MMA had been fulfilled and the organization decided to release the champion. He had hoped to ink a deal with the UFC, but a deal never materialized. He was told he needed to gain more experience before landing in the UFC.

After the UFC announced they had signed Brooks, Askren quickly brought up on Twitter the inconsistency in him being told that he needed more experience while Brooks was signed without having a single fight.

UFC president Dana White responded to Askren’s criticisms during this week’s edition of The Download, and thinks the 30-year-old fighter is simply seeking publicity by continually criticizing the UFC.

“The thing is with Ben Askren is that Ben Askren doesn’t really want to fight here, in my opinion. People that are close to him say the same thing,” White said. “The guy is making a ton of money to fight nobodies, but when you talk and you say a lot of things it keeps your name out there. Trust me when I tell you this, Ben Askren does not want to fight in the UFC. Believe me when I tell you that.”

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  • 4g63mark

    Why the hell would we believe Dana White when he says stupid shit like this? This is just Dana trying to save face for dumbing down the UFC brand by signing a fake wrestler……. And that’s ALL this is. Askren is totally justified by saying what he’s saying.

    • bostonjuddie

      Totally agree. Ben is right by tweeting this and Dana knows it. Let’s face it Dana has double standards but he has the right to have double standards. I like Dana White but Dana knows that signing CM Punk is just way to sell more PPV which have been slumping over the past year. Everyone and their mother is going to buy the PPV that debuts CM Punk just to see if he is good or not. Dana can’t stand the fighting style of Askren(ie. Jon Fitch) and doesn’t like him so he is not going to sign him out of spite in my opinion.

      • Mizzou fan

        Agree one hundred percent. Seems just spiteful of Dana. I would love to see askren in ufc but also think he wouldn’t get a fair shake even if he was. By this I mean I think if say he did come and got consistent wins I don’t think he would ever get high profile fights just because of his style, which I love being a wrestler myself.

        • Spike

          Khabib does the same thing in his fights too but Dana love him :S

  • Donald Gialanella

    If you believe Dana, I have a bridge to sell ya.

  • Djizeus

    Just because Bellator wasn’t interested in re-signing Askren, doesn’t mean he should expect the UFC to bend over backwards to have him. Their welterweight division is exciting as it is, they do not need him. I for one couldn’t care less if he never fights in the UFC.

    • powerboy55

      I would want to see him in the ufc just because he’s so dominant with his wrestling.

      • Djizeus

        I get your point, I really do. But I’m getting really annoyed at Askren for constantly yapping about this. If anything, he should be pissed at Bellator more, but he’s firing big shots at DW just to get some attention. Annoying.

        • powerboy55

          I get you too. Maybe as a fan I don’t really care abt his yacking. Would like to see askren defend his one fc belt a few times against nobodies before getting dana to sign him. But it’s a dilemma for him, whether he wants to make a ton of money comfortably like dana said, or fight the best in the world for much less. That’s if dana would even be interested in him after all these comments. Haha.

  • MikeMcK83

    I don’t get bens comment. I’m yet to meet a single person who thought Ben wasn’t signed because of experience.
    And what’s with the “fake wrestler” title people give punk. When you watch the wwe does it look anything “real” wrestling?

    • taylor2008

      Because its fake wrestling. Its acting. Real wrestling is what they do in the olympics and college level. High school too of course.

      I never heard of CM Punk before all this talk of him going to the UFC.

  • Heimdall

    Even though Askren is stylistically quite boring – he really has a valid point and DW is totally inconsistent in his sayings. His merits to get into UFC are bigger than with most of the new signings. Why can’t DW try to prove his point then and ink him a deal…?

    • powerboy55

      Maybe dana legitimately doesn’t think that askren will be a draw.

    • Prince Randorson

      stylistically quite boring, to ignorant people.

      • Ricki Long

        I must be quite ignorant as I dont feel any excitement watching 2 men rub on each other.

        • Prince Randorson

          Ive never seen that happen in a fight. Sounds like you were accidently watching gay porn, an easy mistake for someone who knows nothing about martial arts.

  • BarrysHypocrisy

    I don’t think Askren wants to fight in the UFC. He gets relatively good paydays for fighting C-level fighters a couple of times a year and gets to talk about how he’s the greatest welterweight in the world with no real chance of ever having to prove it. At his current pace, he can fight for many more years without any real chance of losing and then retire undefeated.

    And besides, if he truly wanted to fight in the UFC, why would he continually talk bad about the Dana? You know, the guy in charge of signing fighters and negotiating their contracts. Not a very smart business strategy if he really wanted to fight the best fighters and get a high dollar contract with the UFC.

  • Neil

    I think Dana, for now at least, is right. If Askrew was worth signing to the UFC, he’d be signed already. We know Dana has no issues signing people who talk shit about him. The UFC sign’s whoever they think will be worth signing, either for competition or money. And right now, Askrew is probably asking for obscene amounts of money he knows he won’t get, so he can continue to fight with OneFC and build his record without trying too hard.

    Punk was signed for PPV buys and publicity, and I don’t think anyone, Dana and Punk included, would deny it.

    • Gary Fredericks

      Of course signing a guy with absolutely no combat sport experience whatsoever makes no sense in the competetive sens, but…..I believe Punk was signed more so Bellator could not. Why let such a popular name join your competition when you can make the problem just go away with cash and make some for yourself in the process?

  • jay

    im sick of people saying Askren has a boring style; he does not. It is the RULES that make his fights boring. As soon as he went to OneFC and knees/kicks were allowed to downed opponents he began finishing fights in the 1st round. Askren would be an 170lb Mark Kerr if the rules were consistent/sensible.

  • Seth

    Come on, internet keyboard warriors. Get ready for championship rounds.

    First of all, it’s not like Ben called DW and said “I don’t want to fight in UFC”. It’s Dana’s opinion that he shouldn’t fight in the UFC, because competition + rules = getting beat up for him. In ONE FC he is better because rules favors him. In UFC, that would be deja vu from Bellator and I don’t blame him them for not signing him. I would love to see him Vs Fitch for example, not to mention him Vs GSP – those would be great fights to watch for me, because I like that style of fighting. But its not as fan-friendly as Diego’s style and that’s the biggest reason he’s as far from UFC as he possibly can be. Though I hope it will change soon.

    • Jase Austin

      Diegos style? Getting punched in the face and battered for 3 rounds and complaining cause u think u got robbed?

      • Seth

        Did you ever watch his fights? He’s true “Kill or be killed” kind of guy. Check his fight vs BJ or Melendez. That’s what I mean by “Diego’s style”

    • Nicster

      How are One FC rules better fit for wrestlers? Most Vale Tudo traditionalists complain that the UFC rules favor wrestlers. One FC is a whole lot closer to the traditional no holds barred rules (soccer kicks, knees to the head under any circumstances, stomps …. ).

      • Seth

        I didn’t say they favor wrestlers overall. They are beter for Ben because when he gets you down – and he will, it’s just matter of when – he can knee you to the head and do all of that stuff ONE FC is stupid enough to allow. In UFC he would only lay and pray most likely – which again, for me isn’t problem, I like to watch guys like him, Fitch or GSP dominating other fighters, but because of that he wouldn’t go far in the UFC – IMO he would end up same as Fitch – cut from org with first loss or two, after lay’n’prayin bunch of people and proving that he is top WW on the planet.

        • Nicster

          Ah, now I see what you mean. Mark Kerr Style!

          Yeah, I also appreciate good wrestling and decent ground technique. It never ceases to annoy me, how many audiences start booing if the fight evolves into something other than a slugfest.

          But I personally don’t mind the ruleset of ONE FC.

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    I just tried to search a Ben Askren Highlight reel. There isn’t one posted to YouTube and he’s been fighting for years. Dana should come out and say why he isn’t signing him. The dude doesn’t even have a highlight reel after 14 fights.

    • jesoos

      Neither does CM Punk. unless you count WWE…

  • burgerman7

    Ben dont want to engage in any type of standup. He knows wrestling is his only game. He would be easily and throughly beaten by any of the top ten WW in the UFC. Ben you better stick to FC maybe you can retire undefeated. PPL may wonder for years if he could’ve competed in the UFC.

    • TheCerealKiller


      Ben does more than hump people now. His last fight, Aug 29th

      • Jase Austin

        That’s a TKO not a KO…that doesn’t prove anything about his standup. He was saying what is he going to do when hes fighting a guy he cant grapple with so easily? Its a lot easier when you don’t have to worry about a dangerous striker who can stuff TDs.

  • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

    “believe me when I tell you that” – Dana. Why?? Just believe you? Just cause? You have no agenda or compromised position in your integrity? Just totally honest talk huh?

  • Lucas Freire

    Shinya Aoki also has a KO win.

  • Spike

    The same guy that also said women will NEVER fight in the UFC.

  • bvol

    I don’t know this guy from Adam but I do know the ufc does not want or like wrestlers beating any of their guys. Sometimes I think they put pressure on guys that are good wrestlers to go out and trade. I’m with some of you…. just because Dana says it doesn’t make it so. Just like I’m sure this reebok deal will be great for the fighters lol

  • Jim Mace

    Dana needs to swallow his pride and sign Ben to the UFC. Not only has Dana signed a pro-wrestler with no real fighting experience, he also signed several guys Ben beat to a pulp already in Bellator. So, he thinks Ben cant fight but signs guys Ben already beat? Dana swallow your pride, and Ben STFU so you atleast get a chance to test yourself against the best.

    • Trevor

      Ben hasn’t beat anyone who is now in the UFC! He beat a couple (2) guys who couldn’t make it in the UFC and ended up old and even worse when they arrived at Bellator and lost to Askrew! His record although nice on paper is a who’s who of nobodies. Dana has no pride to swallow in this case if the idiot wants to come over he should just ask and I am sure he could have his chance. Currently he’s a large fish in a backyard pond!

  • RubeKegal

    Ben has been 110% accurate in everything he has said about Dana White. I don’t think the UFC deserves to have Askren fight for them.

    • JJDNB

      Totally agree

  • John Youwer

    Please, Please, Please Dana, just STFU Already. Your a idiot who is destroying MMA with your I am the God of MMA Speeches. Nobody believes a single word you say anymore. Retire already with your millions of dollars you have made of stupid fans that think you are cool.

  • Tim Edwards

    ben also lost twice to shawn silvis, a division 2 wrestler from central oklahoma.

  • jesoos

    “The guy is making a ton of money to fight nobodies. (White)”, Kind of like Dana White who is paying a ton of money for a “nobody” to fight for them.

  • Rob Smith

    Sure he doesnt have a stand up game, only dumb fans dig fist fights. Ben is an elite fighter, he trains religiously, is undefeated and doesn’t cheat by fighting in lower weight classes to show up on fight day 10-20 lbs heavier. He stands up for fighters, he’s a captain with an opinion. Which is ” YOU ARE NOT DOING THE FIGHTER A FAVOR TO FIGHT IN THE UFC, WE ARE DOING YOU THE FAVOR” ….Dana White likes servants, not captains.