Loser of Fedor Emelianenko’s fight with Dan Henderson likely sent packing

When PRIDE icon Fedor Emelianenko and current Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Dan Henderson meet in a Chicago area cage a little less than two weeks from today it will likely be the last time one of them competes under the promotion’s banner.

According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Five Ounces of Pain has confirmed one of the core components of the matchmaking process in regards to their headlining bout on July 30 was the ability to sever professional ties with the loser based on the amount each earns in comparison to their perceived market value, as contracts are generally structured to allow for immediate release in the event of defeat.

In May, ESPN reported the two fighters are scheduled to earn $2.3 million combined for their July 30 fight with Henderson taking home an $800,000 paycheck and his Russian counterpart the remaining amount. For reference, the entire disclosed payroll of UFC 132, the most recent PPV event for the world’s foremost MMA promotion, was more than a million dollars less than the two Strikeforce fighters’ expected windfall in the Windy City.

Whether Zuffa would renegotiate terms with “Hendo” if he loses, or if the former Olympic wrestler would even want to re-sign, are unknown. However, a major factor in Henderson’s departure from the UFC two years ago after winning three straight fights was the amount of money on the table with UFC President Dana White repeatedly stating on record the company’s belief that the 40-year old was not a major draw. The Team Quest patriarch is also on the last fight of his current Strikeforce deal.

Though the parent-company of Strikeforce is not in the same position of fiscal responsibility when it comes to Emelianenko, the previously unbeatable heavyweight is no longer the same asset he was when originally coming on board in 2009, a matter apparently straining the partnership between M-1 Global and the promotion’s primary home, Showtime. Emelianenko has lost his last two fights in convincing fashion meaning a third consecutive stumble – especially to an opponent known for competing in a smaller division – would not only be disastrous on a professional level but also likely mark the end of his Strikeforce career given the kingly sum demanded by “The Last Emperor”.

Though only the future knows for sure how things will play out, it appears a black mark has appeared on what is otherwise an extremely fan-friendly pairing at “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson”. The two long-standing stars hold 57 total wins including memorable performances too numerous to list. Among them, for Emelianenko, are victories in Japan against Kevin Randleman, Mark Coleman, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, while Henderson has found success against the likes of Michael Bisping, Wanderlei Silva, “Minotauro” Nogueira, Vitor Belfort, and Rich Franklin.

Requests for official comments from Showtime and Strikeforce representatives have gone unanswered at the time of this report.

PHOTO CREDIT – STRIKEFORCE

23 COMMENTS
  • Rece Rock says:

    Umm even if Hendo loses he’s still the LHW champ… Hmmm, I understand the money component and the lack of value these guys have considering PPV isn’t in the picture but how do you drop a champion… Bad for biz I think… As for Fedor yes if he loses that’s 3 in a row cut him and let him renogotiate after a win at an M 1 show…. Hendo I think they gotta let him atleast defend the strap before cuttin him

    Well-Done. Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Why? Do you think ratings would really dip that much if at all if they created a four-man tournament with Lawal/Gracie, OSP, Feijao, and Mousasi? $800,000 is a lot of money – like GSP + Lesnar big before percentages are added.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  • Screenplaya says:

    This is my recap of the the entire report: “Yada, yada, yada, Strikeforce expects Hendo to crush/whip/retire Fedor.” If Hendo loses, he isn’t going anywhere. I wonder what happens to Fedor, either way, though. There is ZERO chance he is worth 1.5 mill to this company. Per fight. No way.

    Hendo, on the other hand, is the bomb. Still.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 8

  • Brendan Hell yeah i think ratings would dip if they did a tourney between those four. Hendo is a living legend while the other four are all good fighters but combined they dont have the drawing power of Dan. It would be just like Rocky V where the winner of the tournament would just be a “paper champion” who never beat the man.
    Fedor’s time has come and gone as a current top fighter, partially just due to the fact that time has seemed to catch him and partially due to his lack of ability to defeat top competition in the last couple years. Should Henderson be the first to KO the last emperor, i think his negotiating power will go through the roof. Hopefully the fedor in the UFC debate will be silenced if he loses.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Average viewers = Strikeforce: Houston (King Mo vs. Feijao) – 367,000 / Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson – 412,000. A difference to be sure but $800k per fight’s worth? I’m not so sure about that.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    Neither should be cut-Both generate more than they are worth

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  • MCM says:

    Tito Ortiz – $275k per fight Legend in the Sport
    Dan Henderson – $800k per fight Legend in the Sport

    Ortiz – has a huge following with both hardcore and casual fans and is one of the few household names in MMA.
    Henderson – has a good following with hardcore fans but is relatively unknown amongst casual fans,

    Ortiz – longest reigning LHW champ and carried the UFC in the dark days.
    Henderson – KO’d Bisping.

    Ortiz – Coached two of the highest rated TUF seasons.
    Henderson – Coached one of the worst seasons of TUF.

    Ortiz – Appeared every week on National TV as part of the hit series The Apprentice. And has appeared in several theatrically released films opposite Jet Li, and Giovanni Ribisi.
    Henderson – One episode of King of Queens (uncredited).

    Point of all this – Tito is far and away the much bigger star and yet makes 1/3 the base of Dan Henderson. I don’t think it’s far fetched at all to suggest that Hendo is making more than he’s worth. He doesn’t have near the drawing power of Tito, Rampage, BJ, or even Hughes. Good for him for convincing Coker he was worth $800k to start, but I can’t blame SF for having buyers remorse and looking for a way out.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 14 Thumb down 5

  • stone says:

    Niether guy should get cut… They’re both fuckin LEGENDS! They both have plenty of fight in them left and yes, they’re both WAY over-paid… renegotiate the contracts and keep’em both in the mix in their proper divisions… Does anyone else want to see Hendo vs Bones, Tito, Spider, Forrest, Shogun etc etc…. or Fedor vs Mir, JDS, Brock, Cain etc etc… The UFC needs HWs & LHWs they got, plus more, especially with the injury situations they’ve been dealing with!

    Well-Done. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  • Creature says:

    I always tuned into Strikeforce events here and there, but only got heavily into the company because of Hendo, he is the main reason i now watch every Strikeforce event, He is easily one of the top 10 greatest Mixed Martial Artists of all time, arguably in the top 3. And like others have stated is the current SF LHW champion, I will be PISSED if he gets cut after losing in a fight where hes 2 weight classes above his optimal weight. And hasnt even defended his belt once, He is my Favorite fighter of all time but Yes i believe hes over payed by about 400 grand, but still renegotiate the pay to about what Tito is making, and let him fight under ZUFFA still, there is Tons of matchups for him that would be amazing to see. Hes still at an elite level, and a top 10 LHW and MW if he should drop back down. Stupid move to cut him.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  • stone says:

    RIGHT ON CREATURE! A 5oz.er a few months back when this fight came to light, commented that Hendo was the “Greatest American MMA Fighter EVER”…<—-(might have been you) Then said why they believed so… That single comment changed my whole view of Hendo, man… I've been a fan of Hendo back when he was Hollywood (PRIDE)… But I never even mentioned him in P4P arguements & GOAT talks til then… Fuckin awesome, that's why I keep up with this sight. Because of shit like that!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  • Angry Mike says:

    This post reminds me of the posts from previous years about Fedor’s standing in mma because he wasn’t fighting in the UFC or even with Strikeforce. The argument then was whether he was the pfp best in the world. Some people observed that it was a mistake for him to fight so infrequently because any fighter’s career is comparatively short, and the sport passes you by pretty quickly. Sadly, at this point nobody but the hardcores from way back understand his place in mma history. I wonder how well he’ll be remembered in two years. I also hope he saved some of his winnings and didn’t screwed by his sketchy management

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  • GIKE MOLDBERG says:

    Botttom line is both of these guys should never be threatened with having their jobs cut-Both of them are beyond legends

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  • hindsightufuk says:

    i agree, way beyond legends, two of he best in the sports history

    i was watching Hendos fights against Goes and Newton again recentley, both great fights, Dan got dropped in both and still won the night. the man has never taken an easy fight. His Rings fights, Yvel, Big Nog and Babalu in one night? ridiculous. his pride days he always fought the cream of his weight class and often way above it. he has probably the most impressive career in terms of calibre of fighter he’s faced, in all of MMA

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  • elkymbo says:

    Agreed fellas! If either are sacked it’s a fucken stupid move. But who knows what goes on behind closed doors with m1. Even if Fedor wins what then? Fight in the UFC? I fucken hope so! And keep Hendo for fuck sake. What are these people? Retarded? Am I going to swear more? Fucken oath!

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  • Guthookd says:

    “Neither should be cut-Both generate more than they are worth”
    -Gike

    Ahhhh…..what??

    If Fedor looses they won’t have to cut him because he will retire. Period. Mark my words.

    If Hendo looses I think they’ll try to renegotiate his contract and then eventually cut him……and no one will care.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  • Creature says:

    Thank you stone lol. “and no one will care” i think just the backlash on this site alone proves that statement wrong, i think the majority of the MMA world will be like wtf? A guy as popular as Hendo, a true legend, and still VERY far from not being able to handle the tops of the division getting cut on as loss to another legend when its at HW.. when hes a true MW.. is complete BS and i think most people will see that, If he does get cut, Bellator will have a new MW and or LHW champ pretty soon ;)

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • nope says:

    MCM says

    Ortiz – longest reigning LHW champ and carried the UFC in the dark days.
    Henderson – KO’d Bisping, and was also Pride Middle Weight and Light heavy weight Champ and is the Current Strikeforce Light Heavy weight Champ.

    Fixed that for ya….I know you forgot.

    Also, Get Tito’s nuts out your mouth it’s a lil embarassing.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  • MCM says:

    Gothooked is right about Fedor. If he looses, he’s gonna retire.

    I think the statement about cutting Dan is the only way SF has to legally bring Dan to the negotiating table. Why would he volunteer to take a pay cut if he has a signed contract?

    nope-
    I think you missed the point of the post. Yes Dan was the PRIDE champion, but PRIDE was less than half as popular as StrikeForce is in the U.S. Since the entire post was a comparison of a fighters pay check directly corresponding to putting butts in seats and generating PPV buys, it was an appropriate comparison.
    Dan’s biggest popularity in the U.S. is from his time on TUF and the KO over Bisping. Now when I say “popularity”, I’m not talking about guys that will go out of there way to post on relatively little known websites about a niche sport, but more about the average American (since most top MMA is in America). For everyone of us their are 10,000 of them. If you doubt the popularity of PRIDE, just remember that Dan’s first fight in the UFC after being the only fighter to simultaneously hold two belts in two weight classes was on FREE TV. If you’re worth $800k per fight, you’re not being given away for free.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • Dufresne says:

    From a pure money standpoint I agree with Brendhan. Hendo is pulling almost a million dollars per fight before any bonuses and I honestly don’t think he’s generating a million dollars worth of additional income. He’s one of the greatest fighters of all time and he’s still a hell of a relevant competitor, but there’s no one out there that can honestly tell me he pulls in double the business that Brock Lesnar brings in. It’s just not true.

    And it wouldn’t be the first time SF cut a reigning champ. Anyone remember Jake Shields?

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • @MCm
    dude come on you’ll seriously tell me that either of Tito’s seasons of TUF were better than UK vs. USA in which Hendo coached? The season with him and Chuck was outright shit.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • MCM says:

    Not saying they were better, just higher rated.
    I’m not saying Hendo is not a legend or that he’s a worse fighter than Tito. I’m just saying that he doesn’t bring in the people like Tito, or Chuck or Randy.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  • locoRover says:

    it is sad but true about Hendo. Dude just doesnt garner the mainstream attention worth paying him that much. Dana White knew it, and thats why the negotiations stalled out. And nobody in the mainstream really batted an eye.

    The difference between Dan when compared to Chuck, Tito, Randy, and Lesnar is that he is not an exciting personality in the least. He isnt as recognizable as Chuck, polarizing as Tito or Lesnar, and his ageless wonder has never been pushed by the UFC like Randys. Thats why he never made their kind of money.

    As for his accomplishments being recognized, and why he Zuffa wouldnt want to pay him more than less exciting personalities like Anderson Silva or GSP… Zuffa and DW care about what you’ve accomplished for them (as they should, if they want to make their brand top-notch they will only truly recognize what you’ve accomplished in the UFC. usually) or how much money you can make them. And the fact of the matter is, Hendo didnt accomplish anything worth paying him a ton of money during his time in the UFC. Sure he did win the UFC middle weight tournament, back at UFC 17, but nobody remembers that. During his last stint, he went 3-2, losing to Rampage and Silva, beating Palhares by decision, Franklin by split (BS!), and the spectacular knockout of Bisping. So why does Zuffa want to pay him almost a mil, no way.

    Add that on to the loss to failed UFC welterweight contender Jake Shields, and that just does not justify keeping a contract that hefty on board.

    It may sound like im a Hendo basher, but truth be told I love to watch him fight. His KO of Bisping is prolly one of my favorite moments in MMA history, and he was my absolute favorite guy to root for in the Pride days, but im just trying to be realistic with my analysis.

    Truth be told, I think Hendo deserves to get $200-250K for a win. Coincidentally, thats what he earned for his UFC 100 win before the KOTN money.

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  • locoRover says:

    and i kinda feel like a tool for using ‘truth be told’ twice in that post…

    Agree or Disagree: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

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