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With UFC Contract Negotiations Stalled Out, Could Dan Henderson Be Heading for the Door?

(The Henderson vs. Belfort fight from PRIDE 32 that the UFC has conveniently forgotten about.)

As strange as it seems now, there was a time when the Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping fight at UFC 100 was thought to be a #1 middleweight contender’s match. Then, Nate Marquardt blasted Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort ran over Rich Franklin, and suddenly things began to get complicated, both in terms of the UFC’s middleweight title picture and Hendo’s short-term career plans. It’s obvious now that the UFC wants Vitor to be the next challenger for Anderson Silva‘s belt (despite the fact the Belfort has never competed in the UFC at 185 pounds), with the next title shot going to the winner of Dan vs. Nate. Unfortunately, Henderson isn’t currently signed to the UFC. A new report on Sherdog informs us that Dan has been a free agent since last month, and his latest round of contract negotiations with the UFC last week didn’t produce a signed contract:

“It didn’t go quite as I hoped. Let’s put it that way,” Henderson told Wednesday. “It could have been a lot better. Obviously I feel my value has gone up enough to warrant what I’ve asked for. I don’t think I’m being greedy by any means. There’s a lot of numbers being thrown around out there and I feel I should be paid what I ask for. They feel like, I guess, I’m not worth that though.”

Uh-oh. The phrase "lack of respect" wasn’t used, but this could easily turn into another Couture/Ortiz/Rampage situation, where one of the UFC’s big stars storms out due to what he perceives as unfair treatement. For the record, Henderson’s last performance earned him a base salary of $100,000, a win bonus of $150,000, and a Knockout of the Night bonus of $100,000. Not a bad total haul, but you can see why he might want his guaranteed money to be more in line with the promotion’s other stars. (On the same card, Georges St. Pierre made $200,000 to show, and Brock Lesnar made $400,000.) And of course, the Belfort situation is a kick in the nuts:

“Yeah, I’m not real thrilled about that. And I like Vitor. He’s a good guy and he’s been around for a long time, but I just don’t understand why he gets to jump to the front of the line, especially when I beat him.” Henderson said he brought up his 2006 unanimous decision victory over Belfort at Pride 32 in Las Vegas at last week’s meeting, but he was met with puzzled faces. “I think it’s something that might have slipped their minds, that (that fight) happened,” said Henderson. “I’m not exactly sure. You’ll have to ask them on that, but to me, that’s what it seemed like.”

At this point, Henderson says he hasn’t begun talks with any competing organizations, out of respect for the UFC. However…

“Basically anywhere’s a possibility…Since I’ve had a history with Japan, I guess that would be one place I’d talk to. Strikeforce, for sure, would be the next big U.S. promotion.”

Sure, he could go to DREAM or Strikeforce and immediately become their middleweight champion. But there’s only one place that Henderson can have his rematch with Anderson Silva, and that’s within the eight walls of the Octagon. Will personal pride be enough to keep Hendo in the UFC? Or will Strikeforce pull up quick to retrieve it?

Cagepotato Comments

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Osama- October 1, 2009 at 10:06 pm
Can they exchange Hendo for Marius Zaromskis?
Osama- October 1, 2009 at 9:52 pm
If anything he might be in hiatus for a few months, but he ain't going nowhere. No one can affor d $350,000+ per fight for Dan. Not that he's not worth it, they just can't make that much money off of him. They should give him 200k to show, 150k to win.
se7en0we2- October 1, 2009 at 4:14 pm
I can't stand that fuckin' bitch!
Dexter- October 1, 2009 at 12:31 pm
i love that lady from pride.
i thought that she was a little asian, but then i saw her on inside mma with Ron kruck and she is a european lady, and so she did the intro voice for krcuk
ArmFarmer- October 1, 2009 at 10:56 am

I'm a wrestler and I'm biased towards wrestlers.. but from what I remember Henderson didn't do any damage on the ground in the first round he just laid on top of him. Then in the second round Silva knocked him silly and then choked him out with a deep rnc combined with a body triangle. I stand by my statement.. just because Henderson laid on top of him for half a round doesn't change the fact that he got destroyed.

Edit: Just watched the fight.. destruction begins around 2:45 in the second round. Hendo didn't gas he just got his ass handed to him which caused him to look fatigued. Silva lands a hard knee, a kick that actually connected with the knee to Hendos head, then a bunch of punchs. Then Hendo drops for a half ass td because he's hurt, and silva controls him and then pummels the shit out of him. At this point sure hendo looks gassed, but that's just due to the beating he was taking. It wasn't a one sided destruction like silva/franklin 1/2 were and hendo did a little damage in rd1, but in the end yes he got destroyed.
TheKCB- October 1, 2009 at 10:29 am
That is a really awkward opening sequence for that video. That woman freaks me out. "Victor" Belfort...
for the love of mma- October 1, 2009 at 10:10 am
hendo has earned his shot! he did lose the pride title to silva so he should have some redemption and he beat three tough guys since then. including rich franklin so vitors win shouldnt be considered great cuz hendo defeated both those guys!!! anderson is ducking him now!!!
TheSlothman- October 1, 2009 at 9:48 am
This is actually perfect... Hendo is the only guy that could give Mousasi a run at 205 ...he leaves, gets paid by Coker, Vitor skips Marquart but hes next after the Spider wrecks Belfort, and we get Hendo vs. the Dreamcatcher!!
Mike Milbury- October 1, 2009 at 9:15 am
Look, most of us like Hendo, but is he really a draw in terms of PPV numbers? I doubt he draws as much attention as GSP or Lesnar.
Old_Bald_and_Irish- October 1, 2009 at 9:06 am
@ GEE-yuh-TEEN

You've just exposed your Cage Potato newbie status.

Here's your refresher course:

Kimbo appeared as a guest commentator at a Japanese MMA event (DREAM I think) and said that he loved being "In the city of Japan".

Couldn't find the vid link, buyt just wanted to give you a 'heads up' and let you know that, yes, Perdew is not that dumb

...all of the time.

Sheps- October 1, 2009 at 9:06 am

Perdew was quoting Kimbo Slice's infamous comment "Man I love the city of Japan!"

And on Henderson, as much of a cheapshotting dickhead I think he is, I'm pretty sure that he has been screwed enough around by the UFC and deserves to be respected as the true veteran he is. If Hendo has fought primarily in the UFC and not in Pride he'd be a "Future Hall of Famer" right now, but that doesn't look like the case.

He should head over to Strikeforce, Japan ain't kicking it like they use to.
Dexter- October 1, 2009 at 9:06 am
go with the 185 lb tourny!
you can have an eight man bracket, thats 4 fights, 2 fights, one fight spread out over three PPV. dont do 2 fights in one night for finals. want guys fresh.
i think this could be huge for the ufc they dont even have to put the belt up. it gives you great match-ups. great drama. draws intrest. jus some 85ers off the top.....
oh and goran reljic (if still alive)
enough for replacement bouts
Tai-Pan- October 1, 2009 at 9:03 am
The fight fans want? I will not be shelling out 50$ to see Hendo vs Silva again, unless the main card is stacked. Vitor and Silva however is at least interesting. Any other fight at Middleweight for Silva is uninteresting. Seeing as both Hendo and Marquardt have already lost to Silva I don't mind seeing them square off for Andersons last title defense. Besides we all know Silva isn't going to fight both of them again.
Jugger- October 1, 2009 at 9:00 am
Silva has only lost one round since he's been in the UFC... and that was against Hendo. He's fought his way back up the ladder with victories over Palhares, Franklin and Bisping. A rematch is the right thing to do.

The UFC shouldn't make Hendo fight Nate Marquart. That is lose-lose for the Middleweight title picture. If Nate wins... most folks want that fight even less than Hendo/Anderson II. If Dan wins... Marquart, the number 3 MW in the division goes back to the end of the line again, or worse, he becomes irrelevant (much like Rich Franklin) and will start talking about "switching weight classes".
GEE-yuh-TEEN- October 1, 2009 at 8:59 am
Perdew, Japan is not a city.

I hope they sign Hendo. I like that dude if for no other reason than he destroyed Bisping and he's humble. I think he or Nate should get the next shot. They've both put on impressive performances.
Fedor vs. Bas- October 1, 2009 at 8:52 am
Vitro deserves a shot eventually. But he's had one fight in his return. And it wasn't even at 185!!!
Goog- October 1, 2009 at 8:51 am
^ I was ringside for Silva Hendo in Columbus. He got destroyed? He won the first round and gassed in the second. Watch it again facing the screen.
LoneWolf- October 1, 2009 at 8:47 am
Sure the Vitor v Silva fight would be interesting and entertaining...hopefully. You can't Deny the fact that Hendo deserves this shot the most.....and just to clarify he is the only guy to ever give Silva a decent fight....remember round 1. Not saying that the outcome would change, but the guy deserves a shot. And just because one a fight at 195 against Rich doesn't mean dick when it comes to Silva.
tallkitchenbags- October 1, 2009 at 8:40 am
first, bitches (don't mind the wannabe's above me.)
ArmFarmer- October 1, 2009 at 8:40 am
The fight the fans want? I want belfort vs silva.. I've already seen hendo vs silva and he got destroyed. I might feel differently if something had happened in that first round but Hendo didn't do anything on the ground. I think the fight would just end up with Hendo getting a takedown here and there and nothing happening and then eventually getting caught on the feet and finished.
jimbonics- October 1, 2009 at 8:37 am
My anaconda don't. want. none. unless you've got. buns. hun.
baldmidget- October 1, 2009 at 8:36 am
can we get a motherfukkin spell check on vitor at 31 seconds of the video lmao.

BigCountrysCholesterol- October 1, 2009 at 8:31 am
Forget middleweight. Strikeforce knows they have no top-tier fighters at 205 to face to Gegard Mousasi. Dan has plenty of success at that weight, and he would be offered an instant shot, I bet. With the network deal, signing Fedor, and the increasing attention of women's MMA, Strikeforce is gradually climbing into the spotlight. Not a perfect option, but a solid one to have.
Old_Bald_and_Irish- October 1, 2009 at 8:29 am
Good one, Perdew!

Hendo has been treated like the red-headed stepchild of the UFC for quite some time. Personally, I think Spider wants to fight someone different. Also, I think Hendo thinks he beat Silva. Right now, I think Hendo would be on the top of my list of guys who could beat Silva. Maybe that's why Anderson isn't interested in a re-match

...even though it would be a HUGE PPV event.

Again, the UFC, just like boxing, is not giving the fans the fights they want.

Right, Dana?

I'd like to see Hendo stay in the UFC, but the organization penny-pinchers have got to be considering how much longer Hendo will be a viable contender. No offense to Hendo, but look how quickly Father Time caught up to Chuck Liddell. My hunch is that they don't wanna pour out a bunch of cash for a guy that they percieve might quickly go south with his record.

Hendo would be great for Strikeforce, but I would prefer to see him stay in the UFC

....and knock Bisping out again so I can LMAO for a second time!
Fedor vs. Bas- October 1, 2009 at 8:23 am
Dan Henderson is a potential UFC 185 champ. They need to resign him and give him what he wants. He even did a TUF season for them.

And DW gave him a car that broke down! He deserves to be paid with the top guys.