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Dana White: UFC isn't interested in signing undefeated Ben Askren

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Esther Lin

LAS VEGAS -- A day which started off badly for Ben Askren in the morning got worse in the afternoon.

First, Bellator announced that it is releasing its undefeated welterweight champion from any matching rights he might get from other promotions during his free-agent period.

Then UFC president Dana White indicated his company is not interested in signing up Askren at this stage of the game.

"No interest," White told reporters after the UFC 167 press conference.

While White had previously indicated the company was interested in talking to the 12-0 Askren, he says he now feels Askren has to pick up victories in a smaller organization before they'll take another look at him.

"As far as the kid, as far as the level he's on? He barely beat Jay Hieron, you know? He's got some work to do, he can fight in another organization and work his way up and go from there."

White used the Askren situation to take another jab at Bellator's business practices.

"They don't want him," White said. "He's their champion and they don't want him. What does that tell you? They don't even care. ... The fact that they would just give away a guy who was undefeated, it just shows what kind of people you are."