Jay Hieron is a free man.
The former Bellator welterweight finalist announced via Twitter on Tuesday that he had been released from his Bellator contract. He later told NBCSports.com that he asked for the release.
"I asked for a rematch with (Ben) Askren and they said no to go back through the tournament," he said. "That just didn't make sense to me cause I thought I beat him already."
And while he finally convinced Bellator to let him out of his contract, it came with a price.
"I had to pay them back my signing bonus," he said, "but at this point in my career, I would rather do that than sit on the shelf."
The 35-year-old Hieron said that he wasn't interested in going through the Bellator tournament again because he wants to "make a run at the UFC." His next fight will be for Legacy FC on July 13 against a yet to be announced opponent. He'll be training for that fight with one eye on the headlines because his Legacy FC deal states that he could break the contract if he gets another shot in the UFC.
"Maybe if someone gets injured (we) will possibly get on a UFC card before," he said.
"The Thorougbred" is 0-2 in the UFC, losing to Georges St-Pierre in 2004 and Jonathan Goulet in 2005. Since getting released from the UFC, he's 15-3, which includes wins over Jake Ellenberger, Jason High, Joe Riggs and Rick Hawn. During that stretch he also became the first and last International Fight League welterweight champion.
Hieron signed with Bellator in Nov. 2010. He lost to Askren via split decision at Bellator 56 last October. The loss marked his first in ten fights.
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