"It's simple," Rebney told ESPN. "It's straightforward. There's no back talk. No back track. No game to it. It's as simple as that."
It sure sounds simple, at least when you put it like that. It's just that these things have a way of getting complicated once the gears all start to turn.
The basic premise (from Rebney's stated viewpoint, anyway) is that Askren is the world's best welterweight. If he goes to the UFC, he'll become the 170-pound champ. In the process, he'll also have demonstrated that Bellator champs are just as good, if not better than UFC champs. It probably also doesn't hurt that, in the process of proving this, Bellator will have gotten rid of a fighter deemed "ridiculously one-dimensional" by Rebney and merely very boring by most of the MMA viewing public.
Once he's champ, then Askren would be the UFC's problem.
That's one way it could go. Of course, Askren might also turn out to be not quite as good as Rebney thinks. He might get mauled by UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, and then Rebney will have handed UFC President Dana White all the evidence he needs to prove his claims of overall roster superiority.
And consider what we know about White for just a second. Think there's any chance he'd handle that victory graciously? Think there's any chance he doesn't spend the next decade bragging about it every time Rebney's name is uttered? Not likely.
But then, maybe it's only a gamble if you think there's any chance the UFC will take him up on the offer. The UFC is not an organization known for an eagerness to let outsiders dictate terms, especially when it comes to title fights, and Rebney knows it. Maybe this is one of those offers you make because you want other people to hear you making it.
It also seems like it could be an offer contingent on terms that are difficult to enforce. What happens if the UFC accepts, agrees to give Askren an immediate title shot, but – oops, wouldn't you know it? – the champ got hurt and is going to be out a while. Here, fight another top contender while you wait.
Askren likely wouldn't care too much. That guy would fight a tiger if you told him that you'd just overheard the tiger bragging about his takedown defense. It's Bellator that would lose out as the UFC gradually assimilates Askren, or else holds him in contender purgatory.
And that's what seems strange about Rebney's offer, is how many different ways there are for him to come out on the wrong side of this. If Askren goes over and throttles GSP or Johny Hendricks or whoever, great. Rebney has proven that he had (note the past tense) the world's best welterweight. The MMA world will have little choice but to admit that fact then (and only then), though I'm not sure it would extend to the rest of the Bellator roster.
On the other hand, if Askren loses, well, it's not hard to imagine that being used against all the champs who stayed behind.
If nothing happens? If the UFC stays quiet and pretends this offer doesn't exist? Then we'll probably end up with the same game of matching offers and legal battles that defined the Alvarez squabble. Put away the gloves, bring out the lawyers, and ring the bell for Round 2.
Maybe I'm just a cynic, but nothing about that sounds terribly simple to me. The more Rebney insists otherwise, the more suspicious I become.