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Reality Check: Dan Henderson

hendoIt’s Friday evening, you’re just getting settled in for the first weekend in recent memory without a major MMA event.  You check your email one last time for the evening, and smile.

It appears  the UFC’s Yahoo Sports* reporter  Kevin Iole is reporting that  Strikeforce “is on the verge” of signing Dan Henderson.   It seems awfully odd that Henderson would speak to a reporter  in  Yahoo’s  UFC department.

Upon further review I am shocked to discover it was not Henderson but rather UFC president Dana White giving Iole the inside scoop.  White tells Yahoo’s UFC section, “We have a good relationship with Henderson, and there are no hard feelings,” White said. “He had a figure he believed he was worth, and we had our own figure, and we weren’t able to get together.”

It had been rumored many places that Henderson was seeking a half million dollar guarantee per outing.  While I find that hard to believe, crazier things have happened.

The article by Yahoo’s UFC section went on to say that “ White indicated the company’s contractual right of first refusal had expired and they would not seek to match contract offers Henderson may receive.”

The piece finished out by saying that authough Henderson would be a loss to the company, White feels as if they will be able to manage.

Pretty big news right?  It’s odd to me that a contract negotiation that is going poorly translates into “ Henderson on the verge of signing with Strikeforce”.  Why would one assume that?’s  Michael David Smith  contacted the Henderson camp in response to the above report.  “We had a brief get-to-know-you session with (Strikeforce) and met them for coffee, but to say he’s close to signing would be a gross misrepresentation,” said Henderson’s friend and business partner Aaron Crecy.

I know we’re getting a bit long winded here but let’s  break that news down a little bit.

  1. Yahoo’s UFC section, reports  “Henderson on the Verge”
  2. The report is based upon the President of the rival company telling them the Henderson negotiations are over.
  3. Having NEVER spoken to the Henderson Camp  “Yahoo UFC”  reports he appears to be on the verge of signing with Strikeforce.???

Now that is interesting.   I don’t know where anyone else will fall on this subject, but I find it hard to believe that  Dana White  didn’t know   Scott Coker and the Henderson camp met for “coffee”.   The sport is still quite small, and people appear to love their games.

This has been brewing for quite some time,  the talks of  Henderson demanding  500K  per-fight, and quite honestly the fact that everyone was aware of a contract issue with Henderson was a sign of a looming problem.


I have little doubt that Henderson is asking for more than Zuffa is willing to give.  It’s often the athlete who’s the last to realize they are  no longer a vital part of the big picture for an organization. In this sport many of us clamor that the athletes “deserve” based upon what they have done for the sport. But the fact remains, we dont write the checks.

Perhaps  Zuffa likes Henderson at  100K  , but not at 200K  per fight,  Perhaps they want to pay him 50K  per fight,  who knows.   Perhaps Henderson really thinks he is worth 500K per fight.  In anycase, White and Co. appear to be done negotiating.  Which of course means it’s nowhere near over. Fact is Strikeforce isn’t paying Henderson 500K per fight, it’s just not going to happen.

Look for Strikeforce to hold their November 7th show.  People will discuss this topic, all people involved will read the thoughts of public opinion.  If Strikeforce/CBS pull some really big numbers on Saturday Night, and Mousasi looks impressive in his fight.  Zuffa will sign Henderson quickly.   If the Strikeforce ratings are  lackluster, and/or  Mousasi  looks less than impressive,  the process will take longer.  But in the end, Henderson isn’t going anywhere.

This whole situation feels like 7th grade all over again.

* Keep in mind this report is updated with frequency depending on response, and on occasion for looking silly

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