Had he known that his knee injury would ultimately play a role in one of the most embarrasing moments in MMA history not involving Ken Shamrock [Author's note: Now THAT is how you make shameless plugs flow with the context of your article.], we’re sure Dan Henderson and his camp would have done things much, much differently. But be that as it may, you might be surprised to learn that Hendo actually injured his knee some three weeks ago, but simply didn’t have the heart to admit defeat until his final day of sparring. FightersOnly has the scoop, via Hendo’s coach, Daniel Woirin:
Dan Henderson got hurt three weeks ago during sparring when he went to defend a takedown and for a while he has to be away from training, for two to three weeks. It was very difficult for him to refuse the fight. All the team had to convince him not to do it.
We did a final sparring yesterday to evaluate his condition and he really didn’t have the chance to fight with Jones. It is so depressing for everybody. Many things are involved in a high-level fight like this one, but unfortunately, this happened.
Now, where the Hendo/Amurica fan in me wants to simply chalk this up as a classic case of a 41 year-old man being stubborn (I imagine Hendo said something along the lines of “them book-reading doctor pussies ain’t gonna tell me what to do” at one point), I simply can’t overlook the fact that Dan’s camp made a huge mistake in waiting until the very last minute to pull out of the fight.
WAIT, WAIT, DON’T TURN YOUR BACK ON ME! I’M NOT DOUBTING HENDO. JON JONES IS AN A-HOLE. ARE WE COOL AGAIN?
Although it is true that if you were to look up the word “pride” in the dictionary, Dan Henderson would reach through that book, grab you by the throat, and ask how you, a man, don’t know what the word “pride” means, his injury seems like it could’ve been handled in much smoother fashion by all parties involved. Perhaps informing Dana White a couple weeks out that Henderson had injured himself, but was going to give it some time before he made a decision, would’ve allowed the UFC enough time to find a more suitable backup opponent than Chael Sonnen.
Then again, maybe it wouldn’t have.
Regardless of where you stand on this issue (it better be on Hendo’s side), it looks like Henderson’s camp will be expecting an immediate title shot when the former Strikeforce LHW champion is healthy again, whenever that may be.
“His fight has been called off and when he bounces back, he will be able to dispute the belt,” said Woirin. “After all, it’s not like the injury was osteoporosis-related. Yet.”
OK, I made up that last part. Because we all deserve a laugh to start off our weekend.