It sounds like Ben Askren was recently in talks to make a return to Bellator. The question is under what circumstances.
In an interview with The Fight Guys podcast that was picked up by BJPenn.com, Bellator president Scott Coker mentioned that there were talks to co-promote with Askren’s then-employers ONE Championship (Askren has since been traded to the UFC) with the hopes that Askren could compete in Bellator’s eight-man Welterweight Grand Prix.
Askren responded to the story on Twitter, saying that he was only interested in fighting current Bellator welterweight champion Rory MacDonald and suggesting that the promotion’s refusal to book that matchup meant it was a non-starter on his end.
Coker replied, reiterating that it was Askren’s choice not to sign a longterm deal with Bellator, which prompted a confused reply from Askren who believes he was saying something along those same lines.
I know you’re used to people not responding to you, but the truth is you & your team were only interested in a one-fight deal & when we asked Bob Cook if you would fight in the Welterweight Grand Prix on a three fight deal - you didn’t want to do it. https://t.co/lwi08ZCfxA— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) November 10, 2018
Scott so what about my tweet was false?? https://t.co/TW9wvUeEuK— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) November 10, 2018
Coker clarified that Askren could have fought MacDonald right away, though it would have been in the opening round of the Welterweight Grand Prix. He wanted to dispel the notion that MacDonald or Bellator were in any way threatened by Askren.
We would have given you @rory_macdonald to start the grand prix & you didn't want to do it.— Scott Coker (@ScottCoker) November 10, 2018
Which is fine, I just want to make sure the facts are straight, don't spin it like Rory & I were ducking you. You chose not to enter the tournament. https://t.co/9dCvZhdtBZ
So far, Askren has had the last word, accusing Coker of “pushing alternative facts”.