Morning Report: Bjorn Rebney doesn't expect Bellator to re-sign champ Ben Askren

Bellator MMA

History seems to be repeating itself. Just weeks after the Eddie Alvarez debacle reached its reluctant conclusion, another of Bellator's big names is about to hit the open market: welterweight champion Ben Askren.

"I don't think we're going to make an offer at this point," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told ESPN on Wednesday. "So I don't see any reason to make anybody sit out.

"If Ben's going to go to the UFC, we should speed up that process so he can go fight. I'd love to see Ben versus GSP."

UFC President Dana White expressed interest in signing Askren last week, however Rebney's complete indifference to handing another Bellator champion to his foremost rival is odd, if nothing else.

It's possible Viacom simply wishes to free its 170-pound division from Askren's smothering stranglehold, opening the door for one of Bellator's many fan-friendly strikers to seize the mantle. Although considering how the Alvarez situation started last year, it could just be a thinly veiled play to coax the UFC into lowballing the 29-year-old.

Regardless, Askren told ESPN there was "no chance" he'd be involved in Bellator's inaugural November pay-per-view, while Rebney appears content to let Zuffa make its first move.

"If the UFC does make an offer, we'll take a look at it and move on from there," he said. "We haven't been proactive yet. I have nothing but good things to say about Ben as a fighter, but we're all very aware of how he fights and what he does. It's not for everyone."

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Rebney talks Askren. Asked if Bellator will attempt to re-sign welterweight champion Ben Asken, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told ESPN: "I don't think we're going to make an offer at this point. ... If Ben's going to go to the UFC, we should speed up that process so he can go fight."

Machida-Kennedy. Lyoto Machida is officially dropping down to middleweight, and Tim Kennedy will be there to meet him. The pair are scheduled to meet November 6, 2013 at UFC Fight for the Troops 3.

Henderson, Pettis reflect. Three years later, Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis looked back on the "cool little kick" that has come to define both men, albeit in far different ways.

Boston passes absurd bill. Sorry, kids. Remember that ludicrous resolution the Boston City Council proposed which would ban anyone under the age of 18 from attending a mixed martial arts event? Well, an amended version which lowered the age to 16 passed unanimously on Wednesday.

Brandao responds. A day after Conor McGregor's coach told UFC Tonight that Diego Brandao would make a good next opponent for the Irishman, Brandao responded: "If he wants to fight me, I also want to fight him. Hey, McGregor, let's make it happen. It would be perfect for UFC 168 in Vegas."

Hendo-Belfort specifics. The planned rematch between Dan Henderson and Vitor Belfort will be contested at light heavyweight, according to Henderson. The bout is currently penciled in for November 9, 2013 in Brazil, while both Henderson and Belfort are expected to apply for a TUE for TRT.

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MEDIA STEW

Also announced by Dana: If Wanderlei Silva is healthy, Silva vs. Chael Sonnen may be the co-main event of UFC 167, which already has GSP-Hendricks and MacDonald-Lawler.

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Step 1: Anderson Silva busts this out at UFC 168. Step 2: The internet implodes.

(HT: r/BJJ)

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Russia is a magical place. Apparently the opponent for this long-haired fellow bailed at the last second, so what's a promoter to do? Invite an audience member into the ring, of course.

(HT: Reddit)

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Just two world champions goofing off at work:

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Greg Jackson hears your complaints, but he disagrees with them.

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TROLLIN' EVERYONE

Props to @IanIsAMonster for the find.

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JUST IN CASE

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DIDN'T SEE THAT ONE COMING

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GET WELL, BIG MAN

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BIRTHDAY GIRL

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WHOA

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I GOT NOTHING

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, August 21, 2013):

  • UFC Fight Night 28: Wilson Reis (16-4) in against Hugo Viana (7-1)
  • UFC Fight Night 30: Alessio Sakara (19-10) vs. Tom Watson (16-6)
  • WSOF 5: Rolles Gracie (8-1) vs. Derrick Mehmen (15-5)
  • WSOF 5: Gregor Gracie (7-3) vs. Richard Patishnock (5-1)
  • WSOF 5: Neiman Gracie (0-0) vs. Darren Costa (0-1)
  • ONE FC 11: Eddie Ng (6-1) vs. Peter Davis (6-2) booked for co-main event
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    FANPOST OF THE DAY

    Today's Fanpost of the Day sees LawrenceKenshin offer his take on: Championship Striking in MMA

    What is championship-level striking? Is there such a thing in a sport as grand and diverse as MMA? I believe that there is, and in this three part series, I examine what it is and discuss how it will evolve in the future in the future of MMA.

    Format

    - The first article discusses the X-Factor seen in highly effective and technical strikers. The fighters that possess them are either champions or possess championship potential.

    - In the second article, I will take on the ambitious goal of thoroughly challenging a dominant ideology in striking.

    - The third article examines the overarching trend of champions in several divisions. This article will feature and discuss styles in all divisions.

    Carlos Condit:

    With Condit vs. Kampmann coming up, I have chosen to focus on Condit's striking to illustrate what is not championship caliber striking *(meaning lower percentage). This is because he is lacking in one of the most important variables in MMA striking.

    Let me first say that I am a fan of Carlos Condit. He has a deep bag of tricks in his striking arsenal, and I really enjoy watching his fights. He is an elite fighter who puts on a high pace and displays extraordinary heart - a fan of the sport cannot ask for too much more.

    With that said, I will point out and describe some of the holes in Carlo's striking, style, and skillset as a lens to illustrate the most important factors and arguably the most effective styles in MMA striking.

    The X-Factor:

    - noun

    1. a noteworthy special talent or quality

    2. a variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome

    3. a special quality, especially one that is essential for success and is difficult to describe

    Groundedness (GN): is an overarching variable that is always at play. It revolves around the manipulation of the center of gravity (COG). It is made up of base, balance, proper posture, stance, positioning, and footwork for the purpose of general defence, power striking, and explosiveness. This concept also consists of stabilization of movement, pivots, and transferring of power through (and returning / pulling back) mainly with your hip, core, and feet.

    In short, it is the combination of graceful movement with a powerful base; it is minimal wasted movement as well as quick feet when necessary. It is the foundation which sets elite strikers apart from lesser strikers.

    The fighter with better and stronger manipulation of the COG is one that can push (e.g. GSP, Weidman, Cain, or pull (e.g. Machida, Silva, and GSP*) the other person around and better dictate where the fight goes. With superior fashion, a championship caliber striker manipulates the COG constantly as he maneuvers around the octagon. It is more than good base and balance while standing still; it is about being able to maintain good base and balance while going where you want to go.

    Mastery in a strike of any sort fully utilizes transferring of energy through the whole body in the right proportion. It involves minimal over-extension and maximal in-position (to defend or strike). It involves absolute awareness of your opponent's COG and your own COG.

    Having GN gives you a diverse set of options. It gives you a profound ability have control over your arts, a foundation to better manipulate them into what you choose: cleaner offensive combinations, counter striking, defence, and alike.

    Here is a great piece on boxing balance by ExpertBoxing

    GN is the X-Factor:

    It is the overarching variable that makes elite strikers who they are. Despite their excellent understanding in technique and strategical application, they would not be elite without their spectacular GN. It is the string that ties everything together, the variable that allows them to be more complete in MMA.

    This is the variable that allows them to better dictate where the fight is and where the fight goes. This variable makes them extremely fast learners, and with deliberate practice they can gain mastery of a technique faster than most. Those who have either have the potential to be the whole package, or they are already the whole package.

    Folks, we're just getting started. Follow me to the jump for more.

    Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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