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Dan Henderson says departure from UFC due to lack of R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Dan HendersonIn the biggest signing in mixed martial arts since Fedor Emelianenko was secured to a Strikeforce contract upon the demise of Affliction as a fight promotion, UFC and Pride FC veteran Dan Henderson has also recently been secured to Strikeforce upon his recent exit from the UFC, and according to Hendo, the change in scenery is as big a surprise to him as it is to anyone else.

“I was planning on finishing my career in the UFC,” said Henderson in a recent conversation with Sherdog. “When I signed with the UFC, that’s what I was planning on doing. I think that whatever transpired or how they handled me just didn’t work out at present. Especially for me at this point in my career, it was definitely Strikeforce. I don’t know what that says about the climate of the UFC. I think that they need to really respect the fighters a little bit more.”

At the core Henderson’s recent jumping of ships comes down to a perceived lack of respect to the former Pride FC multiple weight class champion from the UFC’s end. The tip of the iceberg apparently came when the Team Quest fighter had a title shot yanked out from under him and handed to a man that had never fought a fight for the organization at the weight class. A man Henderson holds a 2006 unanimous decision victory over.

“It was the fact that I felt I wasn’t getting the fight that I wanted in the UFC,” explained Henderson in regards to the reasoning behind his recent UFC departure. “That was a big part of that — that I wasn’t and that it got yanked away from me. I think I stepped up for the UFC a number of times and had earned that right again for a title fight. And the fact that publicity-wise, CBS offers quite a bit more than a pay-per-view and Spike TV.

“The fight got pulled from me and was offered to Vitor (Belfort). I met with them after Vitor fought Rich Franklin. I told them that it does irritate me. I said, ‘Why does Vitor get to jump the line when there’s me and (Nate) Marquardt here who can both fight for a title shot and Vitor’s never fought for the UFC at 185? He jumps the line, especially since I beat him.’ They acted surprised that I’d even fought him. They weren’t up on those details at the time. It jogged their memory, but either way, to put someone in there that I dominated not that long ago…”

And while it wasn’t exactly the icing on the cake, the fact that Henderson’s clothing brand, Clinch Gear, was banned by the UFC during the negotiation process didn’t help to offset the bad taste left in his mouth from the middleweight title shot snub.

“Well, at least I’ll be able to have Clinch Gear on in the cage when I fight for Strikeforce. The banning didn’t really affect anything though.

“Things like that aren’t necessary and for them to do that in the middle of negotiations doesn’t make me feel respected. It’s more of a strong-arm tactic and a lot of people turn the other way when that happens.”

29 COMMENTS
  • Jak says:

    I can and won’t talk for somebody, i don’t know Hendo’s personal life, but from an outsider, this is what i saw:

    Hendo got 2 straight title shots/main events when he returned to the UFC. He got a tune up fight when he had lost 2 in a row,(Keith Jardine rarely gets tune up fights), he got a main event fight with Franklin, he got showcased on the Ultimate Fighter which helped his stock rise. he got a co main event on UFC 100 against Bisping, and ended up getting a lot of money that night.

    Hendo is 39 and there is no reason for him to want to fight into contention and with Marquardt/Belfort in the MW division, Lil Nog, Jackson, Rua, Evans/TSilva in the LHW division, there are already a lot of guys that are looking for 6 figures and Hendo is equal to all those guys but does not stand out above anyone of them.

    The UFC couldn’t keep all of them, and Hendo was a casualty. With SF he will go straight back into title fights, so that is awesome. The only possible downfall would be a dominant loss to Mousasi, which is entirely possible.

    WAR HENDO!

  • Jak says:

    Secondly, what would you do if all your fighters started demanding title shots or they were leaving.

    What if Marquardt said he wanted title shot or he was leaving. What if Belfort said the same thing?(even though he just arrived)

    Who would you choose, Hendo, Marquardt, Belfort?

    That’s a tough call. I don’t envy the decision makers at the UFC all the time.

    Penn wants time off, they need to accommodate, Jackson wants time off, they need to accommodate. Hendo wants 6 figures, they need to accommodate, Marquardt thinks he deserves what Hendo gets, they need to accommodate, somebody thinks they deserve more than Tito, they need to accommodate…. etc, etc…

    not an enviable position.

  • TheZoomZoomKid says:

    Dan left because Dana called his bluff.

  • Jak says:

    And thirdly, just to completely jak this thread… :)

    Who wasn’t more excited to see Belfort vs. Silva then Hendo vs. Silva 2?

    Unfortunately for Hendo, “we” wanted Belfort vs. Silva and Marquardt vs. Hendo.

  • Dufresne says:

    I wanted Silva v Marquardt first.

    I’m a big Belfort fan, but it still pissed me off that they flat said that the winner of Hendo v Bisping was going to fight for the title and then they yanked it away.

  • Xspur says:

    TheZoomZoomKid: Dan left because Dana called his bluff.

    If it was a bluff, he wouldn’t have left.

  • ndizzle says:

    Jak: Secondly, what would you do if all your fighters started demanding title shots

    hendo didnt demand it he was told he was the winner of hendo vs bisping would get it.and that was a lie.

  • Jak says:

    ndizzle:
    hendo didnt demand it he was told he was the winner of hendo vs bisping would get it.and that was a lie.

    I definitely don’t disagree, but Marquardt one upped him in a fight between the other 2 contenders. What can you do?

    Silva is injured, do you leave Hendo sitting until he is ready, keeping equally deserving Marquardt out even longer or fighting lesser guys just to hold out?

    I don’t deny that Hendo was told he’d get the next shot, but things change quickly, it’s the nature of the beast.

  • bigbadjohn says:

    Hendo didn’t want to go to SF I’m sure (certainly didn’ plan it). But Dan is a proud man and I’m sure Dana has some pretty tough negotiation tactics. I think Dana was probably genuinely surprised to see Dan walk but was also too proud to give anymore. With egos involved and self-evaluation versus promoter-evaluation talk, this could become a recurring trend if Dana won’t buck up. But in Dana’s argument, Dan’s not the future of the sport.

  • Vogairian says:

    Well said Jak. You can’t let the inmates run the asylum and when one guy starts to demand certain things that he doesn’t really deserve you need to do something.

    Is Hendo a great fighter? Yes, he is. Does he deserve a shot anymore than Nate Marquardt or Vitor Belfort? No, not really. Nate has been much more impressive since his loss to Anderson and Vitor is a new and exciting matchup, I’d take either of a Hendo rematch.

  • edub says:

    Does anyone else see that because of the tactics used by Dana we could see mma move closer to boxing?

    I mean the more popular the sport gets the more these fighters should get paid. Its simple, The product is the fights and the ones participating in those fights should get at least half of the profit. You may have a differing opinion on the way the UFC shares its profits, but mine is they take a very large chunk of the money after “the bills” are paid.
    Fighters are going to start to see that they can earn a little bit less money elsewhere in the short term, but have the potential to make a lot in sponsorships with SF. They might also see the fact that Coker has a much more professional and respectful way of handling relationships with fighters(It just seems this way anyway..).
    More and more of these fighters are going to go the way that Hendo went. And it sucks for the fans.
    Im just selfish though. I want the top 20-30 best guys in the world in each weight class fighting in one promotion. Thats all.

    Vogairian: Well said Jak. You can’t let the inmates run the asylum and when one guy starts to demand certain things that he doesn’t really deserve you need to do something.

    MMa has grown a mind boggling amount since Dana and the Fertitias took over the UFC,but…
    they are no longer needed. The UFC can be replaced without destroying MMA

  • ndizzle says:

    Vogairian: Well said Jak. You can’t let the inmates run the asylum and when one guy starts to demand certain things that he doesn’t really deserve you need to do something.

    if your in asylum you dont have any rights.it not a demand when your promised something and its broke and you just ask for it.what if hendo demands were his rights,you dont want him because he wants what is his.so he has to accept the peanuts and not have his rights and still not get what was promised.i rather have walked as well.

  • Nick Havok says:

    I just hope other fighters take note of this and remeber it when it comes time to sign a contract.

    I mean just because it’s the UFC doesn’t mean you need to sign your soul over to fight there…there are other alternatives available now.

    Like Strikeforce.

    Because NO FIGHTER should be treated with such disrespect. It’s not only completely unprofessional, but it’s also sickening that someone like Dana White can become a millionaire off these guy’s blood and sweat…but then when one of the fighters doesn’t bow to his every wish, he goes public to bash them.

    What the f*ck is that? And what other professional promotion or league (besides the WWE) treats their talent so poorly?

    It’s ridiculous.

    I only hope these foul actions by Dana White later come back and bite him in his ass when some other hot talent chooses to turn his back on him and sign elsewhere.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    i didnt see anyone crying a river when Rampages title shot got taken away????????
    Ahhhh how soon do we forget dont we hendo lovers and dana haters????
    getting title shots taken away from you happens in this world. Ask Okami how it feels losing your shot cause you got injured and never getting a sniff again? I know Okami is a boring fighter but so is the seconded coming of Christ Dan Hendo.
    Shit happens Dan and good luck to your three fights in SF. I hope you dont kill them cause I love Croker

  • Kuch says:

    The ultimate question is this: Is Dan worth more than what he was getting paid. (I think he got $100K per fight). I would have a hard time paying him more than that per fight. While he is a legend and did a lot in Pride, much of that can’t be factored in when it comes to contract negotiations. Would his name on the marquee sell PPVs? While I like Dan, he probably wasn’t going to beat Silva in a rematch and wasn’t necessarily a LHW contender. That makes him a tough sell to the fans unless he beating up Bisping again. SF is probably the best place for him right now.

  • Niv says:

    Well edub I have said what you’ve said many times on other threads before.

    I think that Dana White has become mma’s biggest problem and I’ve always feared a Don King type of handling of fights and fighters.

    Moosebaby I may be wrong here but I thought Rampage declined a title shot and didn’t have it taken away. Personally I’m not calling Hendo the second coming of anything, he’s just a great fighter and has helped build and bring this sport to where it is. He represents mma well and has earned greater respect than given. As for Okami he was always a contender but I never saw him as someone that earned a title shot, but that’s just my opinion.

    The only thing that surprises me about this signing by SF is that it took so long.

    SF is obviously a huge threat to the UFC and if they want to continue their dominance in their market they may need to re-examine their business plan where fighter relations are concerned.

    Dana White whether he’s in the right or wrong needs to learn how professional managers should handle relationships, that’s behind closed doors. He makes way too many abrasive public comments especially when he’s in the midst of negotiations, that’s simply bush league stuff. The other negative I see here is for anyone that was hoping to see Fedor come to the UFC, the more we see these types of public disputes the more I think he’ll just stay where he is.

  • baldguy80 says:

    Dana says it was about money.
    Hendo says it was about respect.
    The way I see it, the UFC wasn’t big enough to contain those two egos, and it’s not like Dana could leave…

    Sorry to see him go, but he’ll have quality fights in Strikeforce.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Niv i hear ya but Rampages title shot was taking away cause when Dana was asked about it and fuck me for not remembering where i read it ( so guess this point doesnt really count) but Dana never dispputed it and agreed that the plans changed to suit better match ups.
    as for Okami I love him but he didnt deserve a title shot. before he got hurt maybe but i can understand why they never gave him another sniff

  • Vogairian says:

    Nick Havok: Because NO FIGHTER should be treated with such disrespect. It’s not only completely unprofessional, but it’s also sickening that someone like Dana White can become a millionaire off these guy’s blood and sweat…but then when one of the fighters doesn’t bow to his every wish, he goes public to bash them.What the f*ck is that? And what other professional promotion or league (besides the WWE) treats their talent so poorly?It’s ridiculous.

    I must have missed the horrible thing that was done to Dan Henderson. Did Dana spit on his mother’s grave or something? He got jumped by a fighter who was clearly more deserving and a fighter who is a new matchup that people are interested in. Until you sign the contract It is what it is. Only thing that could really be considered in bad taste was pulling Clinch as a sponsor. He thinks he should be a top fighter pay wise and he shouldn’t be. Dude was making $250,000 to show, excuse me while I cry him a river over his “disrespect”.

    I qoute from the Hendo interview, “Either way, I don’t know what Tito makes and I didn’t really know where I was on the totem pole over there, but I felt like I wasn’t getting fair market value for myself.”

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Vogairian
    pulling Clinch as a sponsor is the only thing that pissed me off with this whole situation. That was some kinda grade school shit Dana and Zuffa pulled

  • buzzcramp says:

    Hendo says it’s about respect, yeah right. It’s ALWAYS about money, always. Dana and the UFC are raping these guys financially, and getting away with it because they have the sport owned for the most part. This shit is like a carbon copy of Vince’s WWE. With a few exceptions, the way to the big time is through them, and they’re gonna try to shut dowbn any fighters or organizations that aren’t with them. I can’t blame any fighter for breaking loose because they’re getting the crap knocked out of them to watch Dana and the Ferittas(SP?) makeTrump money. Brendan Schaub made 8 K… seriously man… 8 fucking K… if that’s not taking advantage IO don’t know what is.. I don’t even think Don King would’ve had the balls to do that to the headliner on prime time tv. UFC desperately needs real competition so they’re forced to respect their fighters, respect being code for: paying them for fighting what a person SHOULD be paid for fighting when hundreds of millions of dollars are pouring in for the fastest rising sport around. There’s not a person on the planet that can convince me that 8k for headlining AFTER fighting 3 or 4 times on tv basically for free..is anything short of rape. I wish more would follow Hendo.

  • Jak says:

    buzzcramp: Dana and the UFC are raping these guys financially,

    *sigh*…. the UFC pays more than any other organization on a consistent basis. So if they are “***ping” their fighters, what exactly are all the other org’s that pay far less?

    And that doesn’t include org’s that over pay and fold.

  • buzzcramp says:

    Jak:
    *sigh*…. the UFC pays more than any other organization on a consistent basis. So if they are “***ping” their fighters, what exactly are all the other org’s that pay far less?
    And that doesn’t include org’s that over pay and fold.

    First, because other organizations are doing it also doesn’t make it any more ok. But the major point is that the UFC is FILTHY FUCKING RICH now…that’s why I’m talking about them and not some backwoodsmickey mouse operation. They have a nadful of guys they give 6 figures tt, most likely so they can say that they do, and the rest are getting screwed. After paying your corner, random fees , and taxes.. a 10k salary is more like 2k take home. The UFC is a billion dollar company, why anyone would argue in their favor for paying a headliner 8k gross is beyond me, but go right ahead.

  • Dufresne says:

    buzzcramp: Brendan Schaub made 8 K… seriously man… 8 fucking K…

    Because he was coming fresh off the show. He made the same as Roy Nelson.
    What bothers me is that Kimbo got more than twice as much base pay as the other fighters coming off the show (Nelson still made more with KO of the night).

    If you look at the beginings of any industry it has been like this. Look at baseball. Nolan Ryan was the first to break the million dollars per year salary in the 1979, over 100 years after it started.
    The average pay in 1970 for basketball was 35000. Hell, even now minor league baseball salaries are less than 20k a year.

    You have to remember that the UFC just recently got out of debt a few years ago. Yes they’re making money hand over fist right now, but they are not near as established as the NFL, NBA, MLB etc. People aren’t out buying jerseys of fighters like they do Lebron’s or Kobe’s.

    Simply put, the salaries WILL go up, we’ve seen it happening already. Lesnar and GSP both made $200k just to show at UFC 100, that would have been an appalling number 5 years ago.

    If SF can stick around and be a serious alternative/competition for the UFC, salaries will go up rapidly, especially for the top level fighters.

  • OJ Stevenson says:

    For the marquardt fans didnt silva blast him already?So i believe a man that has never been knocked out and this is really all about earning a shot.Not what the fans want but What the fighters earn. And that is why MMA is basically a joke. How can a guy like Brock lesnar come in unproven and Take over.This weakens the sport and exposes it for a farce.

  • OJ Stevenson says:

    I want to put it into terms most of you can understand. In the fight game just like the Dope game,it is all about respect.And its like if youre being respected, you put in the work.You get the money as a result. Thats the reason why fighters get so mad. How can chuck liddell be worth more than dan henderson??? Thats all dan wanted , was to get paid what chuck was being paid. And dana said no! Now if you dont understand the money and respect thing… go put Scarface in ,watch that and then holla back at me. Lol

  • baldguy80 says:

    Dufresne: What bothers me is that Kimbo got more than twice as much base pay as the other fighters coming off the show (Nelson still made more with KO of the night).

    Dufresne, I think Kimbo’s salary was atypical. I’m pretty sure that he was only paid a base salary, with no possibility to have a “win bonus” tagged on.

    Not that that justifies him making twice as much an anyone else, but there’s no doubt that people tuned just to see Kimbo! I think viewership peaked at 5.2 million during his fight… Even as a bit of a sideshow, he’s a draw.

  • neijia says:

    There is a hardcore contingent that wants things to be about the “top” fighters in a class competing, as if it’s the Olympics or March Madness and “fair” and “sporting”. But it’s really not about that and if it were, how about a tournament format like in the original UFC’s and in some of the PRIDE tournaments? Truly, no one cares about that except some of the hardcore fans.

    The money is in the casual fans, buddies getting together at the bar or whatnot, who like mma about the same as football, basketball, or some other sport – some kind of bonding/beer drinking thing to do, not something to comment about constantly on this site, and that money is built on celebrity and personality even more than match-ups. Kimbo and Lesnar prove that only Lesnar happens to be good enough to be champ (at least in the non-tournament format). Bottom line for Hendo is only long-time hardcore fans really know him. He doesn’t have an outsized personality. He is already 39. Dana may be a jerk, but he is right. Hendo is now the past of the sport, not the future. There is no business reason to pay him a ton. Negotiations absolutely do fall apart in all business dealings due to perceived lack of respect and other “human” “soft” factors, as well, but the hard facts here are still the hard facts. Personally, I still want Hendo to fight Shields immediately, and I want Strikeforce to keep succeeding.

  • buzzcramp says:

    Dufresne:

    The average pay in 1970 for basketball was 35000. Hell, even now minor league baseball salaries are less than 20k a year.You have to remember that the UFC just recently got out of debt a few years ago. Yes they’re making money hand over fist right now, but they are not near as established as the NFL, NBA, MLB etc. People aren’t out buying jerseys of fighters like they do Lebron’s or Kobe’s.Simply put, the salaries WILL go up, we’ve seen it happening already. Lesnar and GSP both made $200k just to show at UFC 100, that would have been an appalling number 5 years ago.
    If SF can stick around and be a serious alternative/competition for the UFC, salaries will go up rapidly, especially for the top level fighters.

    Good points to consider.. hopefully in time the fighters will get a better share of the pie, time will tell.

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