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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

  • jj says:

    I wonder if this is a similar tactic that was used when the UFC was trying to sign Fedor, putting out a bunch of rumours about what a golden deal the UFC was offering him. Either way, what benefit does Dana have by leaking that rumour to Kevin Iole. Kind of surprising these so called journalists don’t check their facts, especially when they come from such a biased source.

  • David Andrest says:

    Dana, just wanted to go on record to let everyone know “he tried”. I thought his quote about finding a way to manage having to move forward without Henderson was classic. It was a nice quiet way to put this out there and watch the ground swell of response.

    Like I said in the article, the 500k number being put out there was a sign a while ago that we were headed back to 7th grade.

  • egad81 says:

    Sounds to me like David Andrest is calling out Kevin Iole in a round about sorta way.

    Lets face it Hendo ROCKED UFC’s favorite little brit (Bisping) so we know he deserves to be in the UFC without a doubt.
    But if I was in Hendo’s shoes and I was a superstar in Japan (like he is) I would for sure want to test the waters. Dream and Strikeforce are working together so it makes sense to entertain the though of fighting the likes of Mousasi or maybe even Fedor (long shot)


  • Angry Mike says:

    It’s a guessing game at this point, but I would interpret this as another step in the negotiations. White/Zuffa are sending Henderson and his agent a message, and by doing it in an interview, it’s like they’re yelling rather than quietly talking behind closed doors. In other words, they’re making their point and doing it with an exclamation point. Iole carefully raises the question about whether Henderson is going to Strikeforce, but doesn’t really claim that he is. Maybe he’s trying to break a big story, and maybe one side or the other has implied that such a move is a possibility. Henderson’s camp may have planted the story or made sure that their meeting was public to pressure White/Zuffa, and maybe White/Zuffa went public with it to tell Henderson that they know and don’t care. Calling his bluff, or suggesting that Henderson’s bluffing.

    On an entirely different and unrelated subject, compare the two photographs in the “I was a fat slob ad”, which is immediately adjacent to my post as I type this. Compare the tattoos in the first and second pictures. The second “ripped” photo shows a lot more ink work, and yet the ad suggests that only four weeks have passed. **cough* *cough* *bulls–t* *cough* *cough* And besides that, are they oblivious to the demographic here? How about some ripped chicas? I wouldn’t even care about accuracy

  • neijia says:

    it’d be great to see Henderson in Strikeforce and DREAM. plus competition is a great thing for the athletes’ pay potential. yes, it doesn’t have anything to do with “deserve” but just market forces.

    lol, angrymike, those ads are so annoying but at least that one’s better than the three amigos.

  • Angry Mike says:

    True that, Nieja. The site has to pay the bills, but the “three amigos” made my skin crawl.

  • David Andrest says:

    Angry Mike: True that, Nieja.The site has to pay the bills, but the “three amigos” made my skin crawl.

    Mike, you have Noooooooo Idea. LOL it appears that company made a huge AD purchase netwide. I see them everywhere. I assure you I’m as big a fan as the rest of you.

  • Angry Mike says:

    Thank goodness for the gifted young lady in the leather boustier. I actually visited the advertiser’s site just to show my appreciation. Sure, I’m predictable and superficial, but I’m ok with it.

  • H3ro says:

    I’m a Dan Henderson fan, but there is no way he is worth $500K per fight(If reports are true). If somebody believes Hendo deserves $500K, they must be high? What reason would you pay Hendo $500K per fight?? Absolutely no reason.

    His record is 3-2 in the UFC and it could easily have been 2-3…in which I thought Rich Franklin could easily have won. Hendo got dominated by Anderson Silva and lost to Rampage. If this was another fighter who beat the same fighters and lost to the same fighters as Hendo in the UFC, there is no way he would get $500K. I think he’s been punched in the head one too many times.

    It seems like Hendo wants compensation for what he did back in PRIDE. He probably didn’t make much money in PRIDE and is now trying to compensate for that by asking for this ridiculous contract. UFC made Dan Henderson a star. The casual fans did not know who Hendo was when he fought Rampage. Without the UFC, the casual fans would have no idea who Hendo is. One other big reason he does not deserve $500K. He would not be able to headline a PPV show.

    I do believe fighters should start getting paid more, but it should not start with Hendo. I believe Hendo is worth no more than $150K per fight and that’s on the very high end. Look at who he has fought in the UFC and it doesn’t matter what he did in PRIDE. It’s what he has done for them lately.

  • David Andrest says:

    That is kinda the bigger point H3ro, I’m always amazed at “what” information makes it’s way to our web browsers. ( the 500k number was floated by someone, and my guess it wasn’t Henderson) This was just funny to me based on timing, and method. The only thing we are missing is a trip to Charmichael Dave’s show by Dana and it will be a perfect Trifecta.

    I’m not hating on the man, he is a puppet master, I am in awe.

  • Angry Mike says:

    It’s not my decision to make, but I’d pay Hendo another 50k per fight just for exposing Bisping. I always thought his ego was way ahead of his skills, but I really started to dislike the guy when he was a coach on TUF.

  • meatloaf says:

    David Andrest: That is kinda the bigger pointH3ro, I’m always amazed at“what” information makes it’s way to our web browsers. ( the 500k number was floated by someone, and my guess it wasn’t Henderson) This was just funny to me based on timing, and method. The only thing we are missing is a trip toCharmichael Dave’s show by Danaand it will be a perfect Trifecta.I’m not hating on the man,he is a puppet master,I am in awe.

    I’m in awe as well David. In awe that people don’t get tired of Dana’s act. But after reading H3ro’s comments it’s obvious some people never tire of drinking the Kool Aid.

    It’s the same thing over & over again for Dana if things don’t go exactly as he’d like he uses his mouthpiece on Yahoo sports to stir the pot and as you pointed out the next step will be a spot on the Charmichael Dave show to put a positive spin on things for his fans.

    If anyone is actually believing that Dan Henderson is turning down a half a million dollars a fight then they’ll believe any rumor Zuffa puts out there to get the blogs & message boards to light up.

    As for Yahoo how they can justify not taking action against Iole for once again running with a story without checking the facts with both sides and also once again changing parts of his posted story without mentioning it’s been amended after other reliable MMA journalist like Josh Gross does check with the other parties involved is a disgrace.

  • Pajamashark says:

    I think this “leak” is being used as a negotiating strategy by one or either side.

    If people are outraged at UFC not signing Hendo likeyesterdayomg, Dan’s side just got a boost. If there is a collective “meh”, Dana’s position just got stronger.

    Either way, if they can’t agree on a number, the court of public opinion is certainly a valid way to test the “worth” of a fighter’s contract. In the end it’s the fans that pay both their bills.

    (And P.S. I’d just chime in and say I find the ads creepy and off-putting too. I know there is nothing you can do about them and 5oz needs to get paid, I just wonder what the ad creators are thinking.)
    (P.P.S. Your “note” from Dana to Dan is pure hilarious GOLD! <3 <3)

  • edub says:

    I wonder if he is asking for over 250 to show. I think 250 to show for Hendo would be pretty fair. 250 to show 350 to win.

    Then again I also think a guy like Frank Mir is worth a whole lot more than 40 to show, so what do i know.

  • submit662266 says:

    I agree with the comment about being a Hendo fan, but Hendo is living in an altered reality if he thinks he’ll get 500,000 per outing. Just b/c somebody is a great fighter does not translate to the fact that someone will have big ppv #s. Look at Anderson Silva. Outside of 2 lackluster showings (which he easily won) he is unbelievable. He is the BEST fighter in the game, and yet he does not pull big #’s. If the world were a fair place, he’d be raking it in hand over fist and everybody would watch his fights. The fact of the matter is that Kimbo will probably make more $$ than Hendo or the Spider b/c people love to watch him MORE for some absurd reason.

    The other thing about fighter $$ is that they get a ppv cut also. Whenever we see that a guy like Chuck (top-draw) made $500,000, he probably made something closer to $1,000,000 (maybe more?) after ppv numbers are tallied. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that was their pay structure.

  • H3ro says:

    David Andrest – I don’t know why you are making such a big deal about why I chose $500K for what Dan Henderson was asking for. I don’t care if that figure is true or not, I don’t think he deserves $200K per fight. Hendo is not a headliner for a PPV event, he is almost 40 yrs old so his past his prime, and his record in the UFC is only 3-2. He beat Bisping, Rousimar gave Hendo a tough 3 rounds, and didn’t impress me against Franklin.
    All we know is that Hendo is probably asking for a lot of money. $200K and over per fight. I understand Zuffa/Dana Whites point of view on why they don’t want to pay him the money.

    I know it sounds like I’m hating on Hendo, but I’m just disappointed that he has not signed with the UFC by now after what UFC has done for his career.

  • meatloaf says:

    H3ro: David Andrest–I don’t know why you are making such a big deal about why I chose $500K for what Dan Henderson was asking for. I don’t care if that figure istrue or not, I don’t think he deserves $200K per fight.Hendo is not a headliner for a PPV event, he is almost 40 yrs old so his past his prime, and his record in the UFC is only 3-2.He beat Bisping, Rousimar gave Hendo a tough 3 rounds, and didn’t impress me against Franklin.
    All we know is that Hendo is probably asking for a lot of money.$200K and over per fight.I understand Zuffa/Dana Whites point of view on why they don’t want to pay him the money.I know it sounds like I’m hating on Hendo, but I’m just disappointed that he has not signed with the UFC by now after what UFC has done for his career.

    Hendo has a 5 & 2 UFC record and you can call it a tough 3 rds. all you want to make it sound like a close fight but Hendo won all 3rds from Paul Harris and dominated the fight.

    The first sentence in your first post was “I’m a Dan Henderson fan”
    Well all I can say after reading both of your posts is I’m glad you’re not a Dan Henderson hater.

  • David Andrest says:

    H3ro: David Andrest–I don’t know why you are making such a big deal about why I chose $500K for what Dan Henderson was asking for.

    H3ro, I think you may have misuderstood my intent. It wason’t you choosing anything, it’s the fact that a number was floated, in this case 500 K per fight. and now people will discuss it, and walk away with the notion that Dan Henderson is a pain in the ass who is asking for more than he is worth.

    This had NOTHING to do with you, or what you said. It had more to do with the fact that it’s now discussion.

    sorta like the running joke about the UFC being asked to build a sports complex in Russia if they want to sign Fedor.

    float , let the public chew on it, and the truth no longer matters.

    and for the record I’m NOT a Dan Henderson fan. I am however a fan of the game being played, and everyone is playing it well.

  • TerribleT says:

    I’d like to see STRIKEFORCE sign as many big name fighters like Dan Henderson as they possibly can.Don’t get me wrong bcuz I love the UFC but a I’m a fan of MMA as a whole.I want to watch top tier MMA fighters fight as much as I can and if that takes STRIKEFORCE signing some of the UFC’s veteran fighters that can’t agree on a new contract with them then so be it.It’s a win win for me the fan not to mention that I want the best fighters to be publicized and to be known and being on CBS network television is in deed one sure way to get noticed! :-)

  • madheartmma says:

    Dana probably just said ” tell ’em Hendo was askin $500K” . f#@k Tim Silva got over $500k for less than 50 seconds!. Hendo iS easily worth $200 to show + $150 to win. HE SELLS PAY-PER-VEIWS, TICKETS, HE KO’S M.F.ers. Dana paid Quit’en “Rampage” a GRIP of $$$. And Hendo fought Quit’en in his slump, (he should only fight at 185), but he’s a dawg, a F’in ledgend, THE ONLY MAN TO WIN A ROUND W/ THE SPIDER, NO ONE ELSE CAN SAY THEY WON SHIZ FROM THE SPIDER IN THE UFC. ANY WAY STOP HATIN’ ON HENDO, DANA DICK RIDERS! PAY THE MAN DECENTLY, DANA’$ A DICK, RICH , TALKIN LOUD-A$$,PU$$Y – LATER NUT-HUGGER$

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “It’s often the athlete who’s the last to realize they are no longer a vital part of the big picture”

    Are you referring to Hendo here? since 2006 he has wins over Misaki, Phalhares, Bisping, Wanderlei, Belfort and Franklin. Please tell me if he is not a part of “the big picture” who is?. He is top 5 without a doubt and there is an argument for top 2. Surely that counts for something.

    You assume a lot in this article. Do you think that Hendo asked for an amount he couldn’t get anywhere so he would be dropped or do you think that, just maybe, he has a brain and has negotiated like a grown up. I would say he knows what he is worth because he, like Arlovski, Sylvia and others, would be getting offers from other companies and knows what “they” are willing to pay. The UFC didn’t let these guys go they said give me this or I’m out of here. You also attacked SF for their lack of marketing as if they didn’t know what they were doing. Let me say that these guys know a little bit more about negotiating and running an MMA organization than you or I. Maybe there is a method to their madness.

  • sexy-yama says:

    u want a reality check dan,how bout i knock your 2 front teeth down your throat man,ooops sorry som1 else already did it LOL,i hope he stays with ufc he is one of my favorite fighters and his ko of bisping was classic,but going 3-2 in ur last fight fights doesnt equall to 500k paydays,lets not forget u were decision dan b4 u knocked out bisbing,and truth be told he was b level fighter,not taking anything away from ur decision vctories thou,that headbutt and eyepoke against franklin got u over the line kudos my MAN,but hey watever it takes

  • sexy-yama says:

    yeah but look at aa and sylvia now?got the paydays but are no longer relevant besides aa maybe,but they not in ufc nemore ,at best he beats the mooose then wat? MMA logic u get the THUMBS DOWN! 😀

  • submit662266 says:

    It would be smart for Hendo to go with Strikeforce. He could set himself apart more easily. In the UFC, he is one of the many faces in the crowd (currently, there are 4 contenders to the MW belt). Dan could go to Strikeforce and knock 3-4 dudes out cold, build a reputation and larger following as a guy with heavy hands, and then comeback to the UFC for more $$.

    Hendo is the #2 MW in the ufc imo. Long-time mma fans know he has KO power. He needs to showcase that power, so that a larger # of people also know. When the casual fan and the newer fans demand to see him fight, they will throw gobs of $$ at him like they’ve thrown at Kimbo or Tito (both are not nearly as talented, but they’ve set themselves apart from everybody else).

  • Angry Mike says:

    Stirkeforce makes sense for Henderson only if they offer stupid money to sign him and plan to promote him relentlessly. If Strikeforce won’t aggressively promote him, it should be less appealing. On the other hand, Henderson built his career in Japan with Pride and still has name recognition there. If Dream has money to throw around, that org. would be a better fit. He would be a bigger draw for Dream without the need for a media campaign.

  • GassedOut says:

    You know, I’m thinking the UFC and Henderson’s camp are just playing a very old game with very well-known stakes. I’ve seen this before in other industries (NHL Hockey comes to mind, as does the NFL) and it sometimes goes the athlete’s way, but usually not (Alexi Yashin a few years ago, and he moved himself right out of being relevant, and that’s only one example, there are others).

    I’m not a big fan of Hendo, but you can’t deny he’s the only guy ever to hold two belts simutaneosly. Does that mean he’s that same guy? Probably not, but he sure did a good number on Bisping. What is the man worth? Well, probably more than they’re paying him but less than he’s asking. Does that mean he’s going to Strikeforce? No. I think he’s got half a brain (at least) and will make the decision that’s right for him as a fighter and as a business man. Does that mean he goes to Strikeforce? Maybe, if the money and promotional aspects are right. Short term – I don’t know that he’s ready to go anywhere. But hell, I don’t know, my crytal ball is in the shop with my 68 Mustang.

    Great article, Dave.

  • edbuzz says:


    When Dan Henderson fights, he is usually the main event or the co-main event, meaning his probably going to be one of the top two or four highest paid fighters on the card that night. If he’s making $250,000 for a win, the other top draws on that card are most likely not going to exceed that amount, unless it’s Brock Lesnar. Even GSP doesn’t make more than $250,000 for a win.

    The UFC can pay all the fighters of any pay per view event off the ticket sales of the arena they are fighting in that night with a million or more left over. Then you take into account that they made $87 million for UFC 100 with not a penny spent on fighters from that money YOU HAVE TO REALIZE AT THAT POINT THAT THE FIGHTERS ARE GROSSLY UNDERPAID.


    Meanwhile, Dana White and the Fertitta brothers, Frank and Lorenzo, have a mission statement of taking this sport mainstream. How can you take it mainstream without paying the fighters a fair portion of what they are bringing to Zuffa?

    We should all support Strikeforce so that fighters have another venue to bump up their salaries.



  • Niv says:

    What blows me away here is how a rumour with a monetary figure can be taken so literally as fact on these sites.

    Let me say that I’m proud to have been the first one to float this possibility a while ago and I’m not surprised that Hendo may sign with SF.

    Hendo is a top notch fighter and deserves a good payday, whatever the figure is that is settled on by whomever he signs with.

    Trashing Hendo’s UFC record isn’t fair as my buddies and I thought he squeaked out a win against Rampage, I thought he did beat Franklin, and he’s the only one in the Octagon to give the Spider a challenge as he dominated him in the first round.

    The guy has all the tools and he hasn’t diminished yet, let the cards fall where they may and remember you’re all getting excited over a leaked rumour. How many times can us mma fans get fooled with this one dimensional trick?

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