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.
Recently, Henderson had publicly talked about being frustrated with the fact that he didn't receive a middleweight title shot following his victory over Bisping and that he was hoping for a bump in salary.
"I'm just hoping to get out there and fight again and get paid what I would like the get paid. I'm not asking to be the top-paid guy at out there at all," he told FanHouse at the last Strikeforce event.
"It's a little step up from my last pay check, but a lot less than a lot of other guys are getting paid," Henderson added when asked what kind of salary he was seeking.
Henderson is not a hugely popular figure, but has amassed some level of conscious recognition with casual fans. That's good news for Strikeforce as is his ability to fight in two weight classes. Given how thin the 205lbs division is in Strikeforce, Henderson is a helpful addition there while being hugely contributory to their middleweight division.
Several big fights here in both weight classes. At light heavyweight a fight with Mousasi is excellent while at middleweight Nick Diaz or Cung Le make sense as well.
I also wonder if Henderson's purse is tied to any future CBS appearances. Without having spoken to Strikeforce representatives yet, I wonder if they were able to afford Henderson by getting their television partner to chip in on the paycheck by greasing the wheels with guaranteed appearances in the national spotlight. Details coming.
And without having sat in on the negotiations personally, I also can't help but ponder how the fickle behavior of Anderson Silva contributed to Henderson's frustration. Joe Silva is the matchmaker, but Anderson Silva was never very receptive to the notion of a Henderson rematch and made his lack of desire to fight Henderson well known. Strikeforce has surely promised Henderson consistent activity and desired matchmaking.
[UPDATE]: Loretta Hunt adds some details:
[UPDATE] #2 - Dana White responds:
Henderson could debut for Strikeforce as early as April on a tentatively planned CBS event, Sherdog.com has learned, and might face the promotion’s middleweight champion, Jake Shields, right out of the gate. Henderson, who also fights at light heavyweight, is being eyed for matchups against Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi and the world’s No. 1 heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, said a source with knowledge of the deal.
“Dan has always been motivated by the challenge of competing above his natural weight class, and he would certainly be honored to square off with Fedor at some point," said Crecy.
“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."
"Nothing's going to help Strikeforce," Dana said. "They have too many fighters under contract and not enough events. They can't keep some of their obligations to fighters already. Either they're going to start breaching contracts or paying fighters not to fight. It'll take a lot more than one guy to help them. Their whole business model is f****d. They're coming after UFC? Yeah, OK.[UPDATE] #3 - Henderson's business partner and manager, Aaron Crecy responds via Strikeforce press release:
"I could care less," he continued. "Here's the reality: If I wanted Henderson, he'd be in the UFC. It's not like, 'F***, Strikeforce beat me out.' He's been a free agent for a long time. If I wanted him, I would have signed him by now."
"I’d like to thank Dana (White) and the UFC for the opportunities they provided me and I wish them ongoing success. I’ll continue to watch their events and I hope they’ll tune in to my fights in Strikeforce. After all, I’m a true fan of our fantastic sport and would love only to see MMA continue to grow,"HT: mma.fanhouse.com
... "I’m very happy to be a part of Strikeforce and their partnership with CBS and Showtime… Strikeforce and its growing roster of world class talent will offer me many exciting fights and has the ability to bring many new fans from all around the world to mixed martial arts. I am grateful to [Strikeforce CEO] Scott Coker for the opportunity to help make this happen and for treating me with the utmost respect throughout our negotiations."