Bellator releases welterweight champion Ben Askren

Bellator today announced that they had released welterweight champion Ben Askren, stated he was an unrestricted free agent.

Askren, 12-0, one of the greatest American wrestlers of the past 15 years, had been on ice since he had retained his title against Andrey Koreschkov on 7/31, in the final fight of his Bellator contract.

For months, due to what happened with Eddie Alvarez, he had been caught in a bad situation.  UFC would not make an offer to him because Bellator would have a chance to counter the offer.  Bellator would not make him a new offer until UFC made an offer.  Askren, looking to be released for a shot at going to UFC, had recently done a match with AGON, a wrestling promotion using amateur rules.

Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney had stated he would give Askren his unconditional release provided UFC promise Askren a title shot in his first match in the organization.

UFC did not promise him the shot, but today Bellator announced they were releasing him.

The Bellator title will be filled by a match with Douglas Lima, who was scheduled for the next shot at Askren, facing the winner of a match on 11/22 between Ron Keslar and Rick Hawn, in the current season's tournament final.  

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