Why is this man smiling? UFC middleweight contender Dan Henderson is reportedly without a UFC contract.
Josh Gross has been burning it up on twitter:
Shootin down a rumor. Dan Henderson won't fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in his next fight. In fact, his next fight might not be in the UFC (link to tweet)
According to a source close to Hendo, Dan is a free agent. The source said Dan wants to remain in the UFC. It makes the most sense. (link to tweet)
But as of right now he doesn't have a contract with Zuffa. Negotiations were characterized as "slow." Dan's main focus is fighting A. Silva. (link to tweet)
He'd entertain a fight @ 205 if it had title implications. Source also said Dan would fight Silva @ 205 if The Spider preferred. (link to tweet)
Kelvin Hunt comments on the rumor mill that seems to be spinning around Anderson Silva:
I don't know what the deal is with Ed Soares and news that comes out about Anderson Silva. This is like the third time within the last 2 months that some news has come out, only to be totally rejected by Silva's manager like it never had any truth to it whatsoever.
Henderson is on the horns of a dilemma. He's not seen as a PPV draw. This is despite his having coached TUF and capped that season off with a dramatic KO of rival coach Michael Bisping at UFC 100, one of the most viewed UFC ppvs in history. And let's not forget, his title bout against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson drew 5.93 million viewers on Spike TV in 2007.
So from Dan's perspective he should be treated as a big draw, but it's obvious that Anderson Silva doesn't view him as a big enough draw to be worth fighting. Anderson Silva wants the kind of huge payday that fighting Randy Couture or Tito Ortiz at the top of a PPV card would bring. And because he's clearly shown that he will use every kind of passive aggression when forced to face undesirable opponents -- dogging it in the Octagon like he did against Leites and Cote, letting his camp put out mountains of misinformation (Anderson's having elbow surgery, he's willing to give up the middleweight belt), publicly announcing a boxing match with Roy Jones, Jr. following his UFC retirement -- the UFC is in a very tough position vis-a-vis Anderson Silva.
Moral of the story, Dan Henderson should have made the most of his shot at Anderson in the Octagon, you never know when that kind of opportunity will arise again.
I think the best solution is for the UFC to rain money on Henderson and Nate Marquardt and offer them an interim title fight. Make the fight happen Dana. Silva not having surgery does complicate matters, but if he'd rather be fighting big money opponents at 205lbs, it's not fair to the middleweight division to have the belt go undefended.