I eat my words, all of them. According to Fanhouse’s Ariel Helwani, Dan Henderson is signing with Strikeforce.
After months of speculation, Dan Henderson has finally agreed to sign with Strikeforce. FanHouse has learned that the 12-year veteran, who was last seen knocking out Michael Bisping at UFC 100 in July, recently came to terms with the San Jose-based organization on a multi-fight agreement.
At this time, it is unknown when and where Henderson will make his debut for Strikeforce.
I don’t know if we’ll ever get the whole story, but it will be interesting to see how much Strikeforce pays Henderson is disclosed pay. In his last fight at UFC 100, he earned $100,000 to show and an extra $150,000 for beating Michael Bisping (that doesn’t include the additional $100,000 KO of the night bonus he also won). Is Hendo really worth more than that to Strikeforce? I wouldn’t think so, but I’m not the one who has been running a successful mixed martial arts promotion for years, so what do I know? Maybe Showtime and/or CBS will be footing some of the bill?
Regardless, I really only have one question that matters. When does Hendo fight Gegard Mousasi for the light heavyweight title?
Update: A few more details from MMA Weekly.
Former two-title Pride champion Dan Henderson has signed a four-fight deal with Strikeforce, Henderson’s business partner and friend Aaron Crecy told MMAWeekly.com on Monday. AOL Fanhouse was first to report the signing.
Henderson, 39, could contend for a Strikeforce title in April on card to be broadcast by CBS, said another source with knowledge of negotiations. It is unknown whether his first fight would be in the 185 or 205-pound division.
Update 2: Sherdog says a fight with Jake Shields for the middleweight title is a possibility for a potential April CBS card. Strikeforce is also considering fights with Gegard Mousasi and Fedor Emelianenko, the latter of which is pointless if you ask me.
Hendo’s manager Aaron Crecy confirmed Hendo signed a four-fight, 16-month deal with Strikeforce on Saturday, and made the following comments.
“Dan chose to sign with Strikeforce after careful consideration,” Crecy told Sherdog.com via e-mail on Monday. “He approached the process with an open mind, and over the course of the past couple months became increasingly impressed with the Strikeforce organization. It was not a decision that Dan took lightly.”
“Dan likes to be a maverick, and I think part of the attraction to Strikeforce was to be a part of something that broadens the growth of the sport within the U.S. and globally,” said Crecy. “The fact that Strikeforce offers a network television platform in CBS as well as a premium cable partner in Showtime was particularly appealing to him. It delivers an incredible opportunity for Dan to perform live before an audience of millions of present and future MMA fans. Also, (Strikeforce CEO) Scott Coker treated Dan with a great deal of respect and integrity throughout the negotiations, and that certainly affected his decision. Dan is very excited to be a part of the Strikeforce family.”
That’s a nice little jab at Dana there at the end.
Update 3: Sherdog was the first to nab an interview with Dan Henderson. He made some interesting remarks regarding why he chose Strikeforce over the UFC.
Sherdog.com: Why did you pick Strikeforce over the UFC?
Henderson: The decision was based on a number of things. It wasn’t just a financial thing. It was the fact that I felt I wasn’t getting the fight that I wanted in the UFC. 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.
Sherdog.com: In September, you sat down with UFC owners Lorenzo Fertitta and Dana White in Las Vegas and confronted them about being passed over for the next middleweight title bout against Silva. How did they respond?
Henderson: 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…
Sherdog.com: You’re the first top-ranked UFC fighter to leave that promotion and join Strikeforce’s ranks. What do you think this says about the current climate of the sport?
Henderson: Obviously, I was fighting in Pride for a long time and I’ve never been one to really jump ship. Had I felt a little bit more, I don’t know… I was planning on finishing my career in the UFC. 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.
Hendo also said he thought it was funny, not threatening, that the UFC put his clothing company, Clinch Gear, on the banned sponsor list to leverage negotiations. It was a good interview. I recommend heading over to Sherdog to check the rest of it out.