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Morning Report: Bjorn Rebney willing to waive matching rights to Ben Askren if UFC grants him title shot

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

In lieu of a drawn out negotiation to re-sign his welterweight champion, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney tells ESPN he's willing to waive all matching rights to Ben Askren if the UFC will give him an immediate title shot.

"If you want to say the best fighters in the world fight in your organization and one becomes available and you have the unfettered right to talk to him, pick up the phone and call him. And if you claim our matching rights are so prohibitive -- the exact same matching rights that you have in your agreement -- then give him a title fight out of the box, which is not unreasonable given that he's ranked in the top six in the world, and I'll just walk away from our matching rights."

Askren, who dispelled recent retirement rumors, has made it clear he's not ready to walk away from MMA without a chance at UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. "I'm not making these deals here," says Askren. "That said, I like the deal that Bjorn is trying to give me."

"Bjorn is saying if they give me a title shot, no matching rights. He's not saying if they give me a contract there's no matching rights. If the UFC says, hey, no title shot, then all this is for nothing. I'd have to go back to the drawing board and talk to Bellator. See what their offer will be. See what's going on. And at that point see what's best for me."

Not typically one to be goaded into power struggles, UFC president Dana White is more comfortable dolling out ultimatums than weighing them. Does UFC take the bait? Or do Dana and Co. wait to see how things shake out when St-Pierre faces Johny Hendricks for the welterweight title at UFC 167?



Palhares cut. At least for now, the UFC is moving on without Rouismar Palhares. The talented Brazilian's lingering submission of Mike Pierce Wednesday night forced the UFC's hand.

Toquinho responds. Palhares' manager Alex Davis says his fighter is 'very sad' about his release, but that he still doesn't quite understand it. "He's perplexed. He doesn't really grasp it. He doesn't really understand that he's doing something overly wrong. He doesn't get it."

Fortunes changed for five. Palhares sufficiently covered, Dave Meltzer says the big winners following UFC Fight Night 29 weren't even on the card.

Big shoes to fill. Steph Daniels chats with Sergio Pettis on being compared to brother Anthony and where he fits into the UFC's plans.

Sparring with Don Frye. Santino DeFranco regales us about the time Seth Baczynski tried out for Frye's IFL team, the Tucson Scorpions. "After the round ended Don asked Seth, "What size gloves are those, 10's?" Seth replied, "16 ounces." "Don't lie to me, boy. Those are tiny. Steve, get me some smaller gloves!" Don called out. "Kid's trying to take my head off or something."




Dana cuts Palhares.


The latest 'King of the Ring' with Tyrone Spong. You might catch a shot of me at Glory New York.



Short profile on Shinya Aoki from Evolve Fight Team.


Jack Slack tackles Gokhan Saki for this weekend's Glory 11.


Michael Bisping's 'SportsCenter-esque' spot for BT Sport.


Bellator 103 preview.


Spike TV founder Albie Hecht tells how the UFC and Spike came together. It's worth a watch for the K-1 talk alone. "Somehow I insulted his geisha ... so the meeting did not go very well."






Union troubles.


Me, too.


Row a sailboat?


Nice endorsement.


Tough out there.


I can imagine.


She lives.



Announced yesterday (Oct. 10 2013)




Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via Do You BJJ?

TUF 18 Tate X Rousey Episode 6 - Duke & Penn Put On An Epic Fight

The 6th episode of TUF 18 aired this Wednesday night. The Ultimate Fighter is one of my favorite shows and I look forward to the new episodes each week. Jessamyn Duke and Raquel Pennington squared off, there were no conflicts between the coaches (boo,) and Julianna tried to play dress up with a couple of living dolls.

There wasn't much this week to poke fun at. There was very little inside the house drama and we had a fight that went all 3 rounds. We did see that dude Anthony, he was a little bit tipsy trying to flirt with the girls. Yes, the same girls that a couple of weeks ago he said he found annoying. Oh what alcohol will do. Gots a feeling when he gets more air time, I ain't gonna like him.

Buzzed Anthony kept making noise one night by throwing stuff against the wall and jumping in random beds. I would have a really hard time not flipping out if I had a fight coming up like Raquel did. At least the women got him back the next morning by jumping on his bed and then dumping him out of it.

10 Things I Wrote Down

1) What constitutes a muay thai specialist? If you trained in it ? Ever? The show stated that Duke was a muay thai specialist. How so? Am I being sexist for asking? It seems like the standard would be even more different for women fighters. Like Michelle Waterson or Gina Carano - muay thai.


Check out the rest of the post here.


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