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« | Home | »

Dan Henderson’s best choice long term is UFC

By Zach Arnold | October 16, 2009

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So Dana White leaks to Kevin Iole that Dan Henderson wants more money than UFC is willing to offer. Henderson has shown no inclination in the past to negotiate with Strikeforce because he wanted to fight Anderson Silva. Strikeforce is likely not going to overpay for Henderson, which is ironic given that UFC has boosted Henderson’s profile into a semi-marketable American draw now (something PRIDE never could figure out how to do).

The only possibility I could see of Henderson fighting outside of UFC is for K-1 on NYE in Japan for a one-shot deal and then returning back to UFC after the situation between Nathan Marquardt and Anderson Silva is resolved. It would be a win-win situation for both Henderson and UFC at this point.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 40 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

40 Responses to “Dan Henderson’s best choice long term is UFC”

  1. Alan Conceicao says:

    “Long term”? Dan Henderson is 39. If Strikeforce offers him more money, he’s dumb not to take it. A couple tough losses in the UFC and he’s retired with dick to show for it.

  2. Chuck says:

    It would be a hell of a coup for Scott Coker to nab up Henderson. Even though there are more better fights for Hendo in UFC, there are good fights for him in Strikeforce. Jake Shields, “Mayhem” Miller, Robbie Shields, etc.

  3. ajz123 says:

    If Strikeforce intends on becoming a major player, they need to sign Henderson. They have nothing to lose. He still has a few fights in him, and by signing Henderson, Strikeforce makes itself more appealing to other big time free agents.

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    If Strikeforce wanted to become a major player, they needed to sign Tito Ortiz or Kimbo Slice. Not guys like Fedor or Henderson.

    I really do think the UFC is using this as a test. They want to see how much Strikeforce is willing to offer one of their fighters. And with the ability to match an offer, they are able to do this. And it’s a good risk because Henderson is only a moderate draw and is older. Not to mention it puts Strikeforce in a position of alienating it’s own fighters. Henderson made $250,000 for his last UFC fight. If they offer $300,000 to $500,000…. Then what happens to Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez, and their other loyal fighters? They will want more money.

    Strikeforce has to be careful. They already run a tight budget….

  5. Lem says:

    45 Huddle “If Strikeforce wanted to become a major player, they needed to sign Tito Ortiz or Kimbo Slice. Not guys like Fedor or Henderson.”

    Right if you want your company to grow and be taken seriously as a major player why go out and sign the greatest fighter in the history of MMA to a contract?

    “Strikeforce has to be careful. They already run a tight budget….”

    How the hell do you how much their budget is and how tight it is?

    Oh wait…you don’t.

  6. Dave says:

    Here is how this scenario plays out; Henderson waits until after the CBS show. If it gets good ratings he milks UFC for some more money. If not, he maybe fights for K1 a few times and resigns to UFC or just accepts UFC’s offer.

  7. Fluyid says:

    I believe that 45 Huddle is talking about the argument that Strikeforce needs to start signing guys who will put butts in seats. I think he’s correct. Strikeforce would really benefit by some kind of big buzz signing, imo.

    Maybe it’s best to sign both the Fedors of the world and the Kimbos of the world.

  8. Fluyid says:

    Now for something completely different…

    MMA fighters aren’t so tough: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE59D0BR20091014?pageNumber=1&virtualBrandChannel=11604

  9. 45 Huddle says:

    Kimbo can’t fight his way out of a paperbag. And Tito Ortiz is purely hype. Still, they sell are big draws. It seems like Strikeforce completely balked at signing the guys they should have, and instead went after guys who will make such a small impact on their company. Not very good.

    Paying Dan Henderson over $250,000 makes no sense at all for any organization. The UFC can do it as a good faith sort of thing. But he really isn’t worth it when you factor in what type of draw he is. And for a company like Strikeforce, who doesn’t have PPV, that is very important.

    Either way, Iole acted as White’s mouthpiece here as a negotiation tactic. I do think Hendersonw will end up signing back with the UFC.

  10. Mr.Roadblock says:

    I’d actually be much more interested in seeing Henderson fight Fedor than anyone currently on the Strikeforce roster.

  11. Brad Wharton says:

    So if they sign Henderson, their two highest-paid fighters will be guy’s who have not drawn well in the US. Sounds a bit ‘Affliction’ to me…

  12. jr says:

    Since Dan owns Clinch Gear he might be thinking the CBS exposure would help his clothing company more

  13. Mr_Mike says:

    Strikeforce should stick to signing younger, talented fighters, like they have with Tim Kennedy, Daniel Cormier, and, Tyron Woodley. They should also look into Mo Lawal. Why not hire some scouts and, visit various low level shows for talent? There are lot’s of good fighters available for them.

    Also, Kimbo may be a draw, but to those ino fantasy, rather than sport. He’s a dud! And, that type of fan base (or mentality) , that likes his nonsense, is not something to encourage.

  14. Zheroen says:

    Strikeforce is getting slammed for signing legit-talented, slightly less-popular fighters instead of ratings draws that are more hype than substance. Meanwhile, Dream puts on the Super Hulk Tournament and gets slammed for ratings pandering. I love it.

  15. Ivan Trembow says:

    This story coming out when it did is a simple negotiating tactic on the UFC’s part. Their limited-time contractual right to match any potential outside contract offer that Henderson may receive has expired, so they put this story out there in order to give the message, “We’re done talking to you!” which will hopefully (for the UFC) cause Henderson and his camp to consider it a privilege just to re-enter serious negotiations with the UFC.

    The UFC was also sure to include this line in the press release: “[the UFC] would not seek to match contract offers Henderson may receive,” which should further make it very clear why they put out that story. Putting out the word that they’re not going to match any outside contract offers will hopefully (for the UFC) lower the dollar amount of those outside contract offers that Henderson may receive from any other promoter.

    Again, it’s a simple negotiating tactic, and it just so happens that they’re negotiating publicly by using Kevin Iole in this capacity. It’s nothing new for Iole; it’s not the first time he has been used in this way and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s pretty much what he does for a living, even if it means putting out flat-out false information in the process (such as Henderson being “on the verge of signing” a deal with Strikeforce).

  16. MMAmadman says:

    Strikeforce does have the CBS deal now, which significantly changes the game. They now have access to a HUGE market and Henderson has headlined 3 UFC PPVs, so he should at least have some name value now. It would seem Henderson could make a more significant difference on a CBS Strikeforce show than he could on a UFC PPV, so maybe best for MMA in general for Henderson to go help build up Strikeforce.

  17. Mark says:

    Strikeforce cannot compete with the UFC in a war over casual fans. They know it, and would be complete fools to believe otherwise. Nobody can compete with UFC’s marketing machine, which gets casuals, it doesn’t matter how many ads CBS shows during NFL games. What they can do is get the hardcore MMA base who want to see even more MMA than UFC offers or those who dislike the UFC to watch. So Dan Henderson and Fedor are great pickups in that regard since they’re huge fan favorites of hardcore MMA fans.

    Meltzer and Alvarez talked about Dan Henderson on their audio show last night. Meltzer said the sticking point was Dan Henderson wants a seven figure signing bonus that the UFC refuses to give him. He believed UFC calling him out on it in public was a “scare tactic” to show him he didn’t have any position of power (since Henderson believed he did after being the 2nd biggest story coming out of UFC 100 and doing an TUF season.) Meltzer predicts he won’t sign with anybody, but sit on the sidelines because he knows eventually UFC is going to need him when one of their Middleweight or Light Heavyweight main events gets blown due to an injury and he will be in a position of power to get a good deal out of desperation.

    Meltzer and Alvarez also debated Shane McMahon (who resigned from WWE Friday) getting into MMA on their audio show yesterday. Meltzer says it’s possible he would look into buying Strikeforce if the CBS show tanked and their net value went down, although he believed McMahon was more likely to do something completely different like starting a consulting company with his wife. Alvarez acted like a complete moronic mark by honestly believing the UFC would bring Shane McMahon is as their global relations head, giving him 5% of 10% of the company (Dana has 10%) because he has “connections.” How anybody could be so stupid to think the UFC would want someone associated with professional wrestling to come on board as a power player is beyond me. That stigma far outweighs anything Shane McMahon could possibly bring to the table. It would be worth the risk for Strikeforce or another company struggling to make a name for themselves, but for the UFC it’s nothing but negative baggage. Brock Lesnar is worth the heat because he makes money. An office worker? Not so much.

  18. ajz123 says:

    I will never understand….FROM THE FAN”S PERSPECTIVE, why someone as talented as Dan Henderson would be written off as a benefit to an organization simply because he “isn’t a draw.” Does anyone here think he isn’t that good? If you want to improve your company, you hire competent and talented people. In the mainstream sports market, of which MMA is still not a part of, WINNING is what matters. Tiger Woods is not a gazillionaire because he can sell a golf tournament. He is rich and popular because he wins said tournament. He is so good you can’t ignore him. Emphasis on selling pay-per-views and how marketable someone is will always keep fighting as a niche sport. It will never truly reach mainstream….and that sucks.

  19. 45 Huddle says:

    “Strikeforce is getting slammed for signing legit-talented, slightly less-popular fighters instead of ratings draws that are more hype than substance. Meanwhile, Dream puts on the Super Hulk Tournament and gets slammed for ratings pandering. I love it.”

    There is a big difference. The Super Hulk Tournament is purely a freakshow thing. Having Tito Ortiz is not a freakshow. He still has some talent and if he is fighting guys in his own weight class, there is nothing wrong with it.

    The entire point with Strikeforce is that they continue to not take a chance on proven draws, and then attempt to go after solid fighters with almost no ability to bring in major ratings or to get big ticket prices. It’s stupid business.

    “Strikeforce does have the CBS deal now, which significantly changes the game. They now have access to a HUGE market and Henderson has headlined 3 UFC PPVs, so he should at least have some name value now. It would seem Henderson could make a more significant difference on a CBS Strikeforce show than he could on a UFC PPV, so maybe best for MMA in general for Henderson to go help build up Strikeforce.”

    The problem is $$$. Or the lack of it. Strikeforce isn’t making much on the CBS deal. And that is a major problem. So while they can offer a platform for fighters to get more advertising money plastered on their shorts, it doesn’t give Strikeforce the ability to go out and pay large amounts to fighters. At least not enough to keep a steady stream of title contenders. Hence their current title problems….

  20. Mark says:

    *5% or 10%

  21. Mark says:

    The entire point with Strikeforce is that they continue to not take a chance on proven draws, and then attempt to go after solid fighters with almost no ability to bring in major ratings or to get big ticket prices. It’s stupid business.

    Is there solid proof that Ortiz was having serious negotiations with them? All of his actions during his time away from the UFC came off like he was doing just enough to make Dana take his bait to keep him away from Affliction/Strikeforce. I never once believed he was doing anything beyond trying to make powerplays for a big contract from UFC.

    As for Kimbo, I was under the impression that his mind was made up immediately that he was going to the UFC so never had a serious discussion with Strikeforce. Reports came out that Gary Shaw was acting on his behalf to get him the UFC deal less than a month after Elite kicked the bucket.

    And even if they did have Kimbo is he worth it? Building a company around him is insane since he’s guaranteed to fail. The UFC can get away with it because they’ve got Lesnar, GSP, Penn, Ortiz, Couture, ect. as serious fighters who sell. Let’s say Strikeforce matched UFC’s deal and put him against Brett Rogers: he gets destroyed and then what? Fedor was a much wiser move since he has staying power.

  22. 45 Huddle says:

    You don’t build a company around Kimbo. You don’t make him the main event and act like he is the greatest fighter in the world. That is what EliteXC did, and it was bad for the sport. But you certainly use him to get eyeballs on your show and then hit them with a lot of good MMA around it. It’s an outside shot, as a lot of the people might just come for the freakshow and not care about the MMA in the long run. But it’s a better plan then going after Fedor or Henderson.

    And all it takes is one serious contract offer to either Kimbo or Tito, and Strikeforce is at the negotiation table. So I’m not sure debating whether they had serious negotiations really matters. Strikeforce has to be proactive not passive on that sort of thing.

    As for Dan Henderson, he needs to be careful. He is at an age where he can’t be inactive for too long. His last fight was 3 months ago. Which means he needs to sign a contract pretty darn soon. He probably wouldn’t be scheduled in a UFC card until 2010. And he might be able to find an opponent for the December Strikeforce card, but that might be pushing it. Not everybody is Randy Couture or Bernard Hopkins. When you get near the 40’s, most athletes end up looking more like Chuck Liddell…. And when it happens, it happens overnight.

  23. Mark says:

    But Kimbo, for what they’d have to pay him to say no to UFC, would be the focus of the company. He’d have to be one of the highest paid fighters and it wouldn’t make sense to do a CBS show where he’s not in the main event. And I really doubt they could afford both Kimbo and Fedor, so if you have to go one or the other I’d take Fedor without a second thought.

    You can either pray that Fedor’s enigma as the world’s best fighter catches on with the public after a few exposures. Or you can pray that Kimbo doesn’t totally embarrass himself again and kill your company. And you can’t protect him forever. Even in Elite fans were starting to ask why he was getting easy fights against Ken Shamrock rather than respond to Rogers calling him out. I’d say at most Strikeforce doing Kimbo vs. Can of the month fights would go two times before the backlash set in. UFC won’t have quite that problem since he can be the opening fight with their stronger roster.

  24. 45 Huddle says:

    Fedor is not going to catch on. He is not a money maker for any company. And solid ratings doesn’t mean money.

    And what about Tito Ortiz? If Fedor is getting $500k from CBS and Strikeforce each, then Ortiz has to be worth $2 Million to them based on what he could have done from a business standpoint. If you are going to risk it, don’t you fully risk it with a proven draw? Not a guy who doesn’t speak English, doesn’t do talk shows, has a funny name, looks chunky, and has a crooked manager? Makes no sense.

    The stuff that EliteXC, Strikeforce, and Affliction has done baffles me. They either went after non-draws or draws who can’t fight (like Kimbo). Ortiz was the game changer. He was a perfect free agent who hated Dana White. They were in a perfect position. Going after Henderson is a joke by comparison.

    As for Shane McMahon…. I’m not sure you give him a piece of the company… But what he can do from a business prespective internationally would definitely be an added benefit to the UFC. The guy knows how put on events from both a domestic and international fanbase.

    However, I would be completely shocked if Zuffa signed him. Why would they? Hire a McMahon so he can steal all of their trade secrets? That would be absolutely stupid….

  25. NOS says:

    I have not heard or read anything about Shane McMahon leaving the WWE to get into MMA, but to possibly help out his Mother’s Senate campaign. So far, I haven’t seen any wrestling news site mention MMA at all.

  26. Alan Conceicao says:

    The talk about Shane McMahon being involved in MMA is retarded shit. No one has any evidence he’s interested. We might as well be talking about him running the Ice Capades or buying the Rams. He’s only considered relevant because so many of the internet dweebs are pro wrestling tards and imagine there could be a connection.

    As for Dan Henderson, he’s not going to create 6 million viewers. But he will draw more eyes than Robbie Lawler or whatever when Fedor’s not fighting. At some point Strikeforce has to sign guys that aren’t scrubs. If they choose to spend some money on Dan Henderson, great. Better they spend that then spend money on Kimbo. Then again, there are people that probably really believe that Kimbo wasn’t paid to be on TUF or that he has a big ‘ol contract for that upcoming fight with Houston Alexander.

  27. 45 Huddle says:

    I have already seen Linda’s commercials on TV. They are pretty good. She comes across well. As a Republican, she is going to have a hard time winning a seat. Any Republican will under this current political climate if people think she is going to vote along party lines while she is in Congress. But if she can run as more of a moderate Republican, she might be able to win. Especially since Chris Dodd has had so many corruption issues as of late with his role on the Finance Committee.

    I could see Shane running for Office in the future too. He has the brains and the polish to do so. I really don’t think his future is in MMA. Obviously this is pure speculation, but my guess would be that MMA is a passion of his but just not a career.

  28. A. Taveras says:

    $$$ aside it would be a real coup if Strikeforce grabbed up Henderson. I’m going to go with MMAmadman in comment 15, it might be the best outcome for the SPORT of MMA if he did so.

  29. Mark says:

    1) The speculation isn’t widespread yet (this did come on a weekend) but AOL FanHouse ran a story considering it yesterday and Meltzer & Alvarez talked about it for a half hour. And it’s definitely just groundless speculation, mostly due to reports in 2007 Shane tried to convince Vince to buy PRIDE from DSE. I really doubt it. Any pro wrestling personality getting involved in MMA is going to have automatic claims of worked fights and nobody wants that baggage. This is probably as untrue as the reports Paul Heyman was going to work for Strikeforce a few years ago.

    Shane McMahon is the fantasy knight in shining armor smart marks believe would make everything right if he was in power. I have no idea why they believe that, since he’s shown nothing to project that, but they do. And now they’re in love with the idea that he’d signal the demise of pro wrestling by leaving to join MMA. It’s idiotic.

    2) If Shane was just taking a hiatus to help Linda they would have said so in their press release. And Vince certainly wouldn’t have been quoted in the press release saying he was saddened by the news. I don’t know if they had a big family blowup or not. More than likely Shane knew he wasn’t going anywhere in the company since Stephanie McMahon is going to be controlling things when Vince dies so Shane knows he’ll be right where he is in 30 years and doesn’t want it because he likes a challenge.

  30. Razorstorm says:

    Strikeforce are taking every oppertunity to get one up on UFC these days. I think they will try sign something with hendo

  31. Chuck says:

    “This is probably as untrue as the reports Paul Heyman was going to work for Strikeforce a few years ago.”

    Heyman himself said the rumors were true. He really was trying to buy out Strikeforce. The deal didn’t go through, and Heyman wouldn’t say why. He was being vague, and mentioned it had to do with someone at Strikeforce (he specifically stated it wasn’t Scott Coker) being a douchebag.

  32. Mark says:

    The fact that Paul Heyman says it is true automatically makes it untrue.

  33. Alan Conceicao says:

    Any pro wrestling personality getting involved in MMA is going to have automatic claims of worked fights and nobody wants that baggage.

    Yeah, but these guys live in a fucking bubble where wrestling is immensely more important than it really is. I mean, arguing that the UFC should hand over 10% of their company to Shane McMahon because of his “connections”? C’mon. Imagine someone making that argument about someone similarly available from another sport, like Humpy Wheeler or Mike Veeck. They’d be laughed out.

  34. Mike Rome says:

    Shane Mcmahon brought a bunch of consultants including some MMA writers to Stamford to discuss the MMA market and whether the WWE should get into it. He was very interested at one point, but it doesn’t mean he’s interested now.

  35. EJ says:

    Hendo’s obviously not concerned in what’s best for him longterm that has been clear the moment he thought he could ask for ridiculous money when he is not a draw. These guys really have to stop letting these agents get in their ear and mess them up many mma career have been ruined because guys listened to the wrong advice. And sadly Hendo’s career will go the same way, he has no leverage or pull with the UFC and now will find himself out of big paychecks and huge fights because of it see ya Hendo and good luck you’re going to need it.

  36. Alan Conceicao says:

    Shane Mcmahon brought a bunch of consultants including some MMA writers to Stamford to discuss the MMA market and whether the WWE should get into it.

    Apart from potentially Meltzer, I seriously doubt any of them would have suggested its a good idea, which is why it probably never happened.

  37. Mark says:

    I doubt Meltzer even told him it was a good idea. I doubt he’d even be invited to Titan Tower because he’s still on Vince’s shitlist for reporting the sex scandal stories in ’92. He has said Vince has never spoken to him again after they both went on Donahue and Meltzer wouldn’t defend him. Even when he was desperately trying to get the sheets on his side when WCW was destroying them he’d have Jim Ross talk to him.

    But I would love to have been there to see the looks of horror on the writers’ faces when Shane said “Hey guys, I’m thinking about asking pops to buy PRIDE, what do you think?” They probably had looks on their faces, which lost all color, like they just witnessed a bloody murder as they sat their in stunned silence. Somebody should have snapped a picture.

  38. Mike Rome says:

    It happened, I know one of the people that went out there and was vastly overpaid for it. And in the end, they suggested it was a bad idea for the most part, and WWE never pursued it.

  39. Fluyid says:

    Somewhat interesting, though not a shocker:

    http://mmapayout.com/2009/10/ufc-may-sell-stake/

  40. Hendo just wanted too much money and clearly Dana was not up for paying it.

    If anything Dana is shocked strikeforce have the money to sign him

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