GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (May 17, 2010) — The ongoing war of words between Bellator Welterweight Tournament semifinalists Ben Askren and Ryan Thomas continued on Monday with Askren predicting that their much-anticipated rematch this Thursday night at Bellator 19 will end the same way as their first meeting—albeit in much more decisive fashion.
“I’m going to do the same thing I did the last time: I’m going to go in there and choke him,” said Askren, the 25-yearold former NCAA all-American and U.S. Olympian. “Only this time I’m gonna put him to sleep all the way so he can’t complain about it.”
Askren vs. Thomas II is part of a nine-fight card at Bellator 19, which will broadcast live on FOX Sports Net from the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas (just outside Dallas). Highlights from the show will also air this weekend on NBC, Telemundo and the cable network mun2. Also scheduled is the second Welterweight Tournament semifinal – Dan Hornbuckle vs. Steve Carl – and a non-tile “Super Fight” between reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Soto and UFC veteran Diego Saraiva.
But thanks in part to the bad blood that has developed between Askren and Thomas, their fight is suddenly emerging as the night’s most anticipated fight.
The two first met at Bellator 14 in Chicago on April 15th during the quarterfinal round of the Welterweight Tournament. Roughly 2:30 into Round 1, Askren locked Thomas into a tight anaconda choke. After a few seconds, the cage referee stopped the fight, much to the dismay of Thomas and his corner, who protested that Thomas gave no indication that he wanted the fight stopped.
“It was a bad call by the referee,” Thomas, a 12-4 veteran of the UFC, said afterwards. “I was fine … I was totally fine.”
In his remarks Monday, Askren criticized Thomas’ handling of the entire situation.
“I think he’s been really immature about the whole thing from Day 1,” Askren said. “I’ve just tried to go about my own business and prepare for the fight, and he’s been out talking [trash] on the message boards. That’s the kind of thing I might have done when I was 16 years old – not a grown man. It’s all pretty childish if you ask me.”
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About Bellator Fighting Championships:
Bellator Fighting Championships is a Mixed Martial Arts promotional company with offices in Los Angeles and Chicago. Bellator’s founder/CEO, Bjorn Rebney, is an experienced fighting sports and entertainment professional with a deep commitment to the purity and integrity of the sport of MMA and its athletes. Bellator Fighting Championships’ executive team is comprised of top industry professionals in the areas of live event production, television production, fighter relations, venue procurement, sponsorship creation/development, international licensing, marketing, advertising, publicity and commission relations.