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Coker uninterested in signing Askren if he’ll only fight once

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Scott Coker doesn’t want to be in the Ben Askren business if the former Bellator champ will only take one fight before returning to retirement.

Ben Askren back in Bellator? Company president Scott Coker isn’t as open to the idea as some fans might hope.

Former Bellator welterweight champ Askren and current titleholder Rory MacDonald recently traded barbs on social media, which sparked a conversation regarding a potential Bellator return for Askren.

But Coker said in a media scrum after Bellator 198 last Saturday that from everything he has heard, Askren is simply looking for a one-off bout. And Coker isn’t interested in promoting something like that; he wants his fighters to stick around.

“Ben I don’t really think wants to fight,” Coker said (transcript via MMAjunkie.com). “I think he wants to fight one more fight and be done with it. That’s what I understand.”

Askren retired from MMA late last year after a first-round TKO win over Shinya Aoki in a ONE Championship welterweight title defense. Throughout his reign in Bellator and more recently ONE Championship, Askren has proved to be one of the more elite welterweights in the world, dominating his opposition — but he was unable to test himself in the UFC, the largest MMA organization on the planet.

Askren said after stepping away from the sport that he would only come back to prove he is the No. 1 welterweight in the world. One of the few opponents he said he’d be interested in facing was former two-division UFC champ Georges St-Pierre.

It’s not clear as of yet whether Askren will eventually re-sign with Bellator, but Coker isn’t worried about the shape of 170 pounds in the Viacom-backed promotion with or without “Funky.”

“To me, we have a lot of plans for these guys in the 170-pound weight class,” Coker said. “We’re going to keep everybody busy. We’ve got a big fight for [Michael Page] coming up in London. We’ve got a big fight for (Jon) Fitch and (Paul) Daley in San Jose on May 12.

“We’re going to keep these guys busy. I want fighters that are going to be here fighting.”


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