As reported earlier, former UFC middleweight and two-time United States Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson has signed a four-fight contract with Strikeforce after failing to come to terms with the UFC. UFC President Dana White has since stated that he pushed Dan Henderson into signing with Strikeforce.
“He’s happy, but the reality is that I pushed him into signing that deal,” White told FanHouse. “I told people over the weekend that he’d sign within the next week.”
Dan Henderson has been a free agent since UFC 100 last July, where he defeated Michael Bisping via a devastating knockout in the second round. The stalemate in negotiations between Henderson and White became public in September.
“I wanted him to s**t or get off the pot,” White stated. “He was in this limbo forever, and he needed more motivation to make a decision.
“Let me ask you a question,” he continued. “Do you think that there’s any guy we can’t get that I want? Other than Fedor [Emelianenko]? So far, he’s been the one guy we can’t get. But everyone else that we’ve wanted, we got. If I wanted Dan Henderson, I could’ve signed him.”
White noted in late October that negotiations between the UFC and Henderson were at a stalemate, and Henderson was free to move on. He said that Henderson wouldn’t find a better offer from Strikeforce than the one they presented to him.
“For the money he wanted, he’s not worth it,” White said. “He’s not a big pay-per-view star, he’s not a big attraction, and he’s not going to sell out arenas. He wants way too much and he doesn’t bring anything to the table.
“Here’s the reality: If I wanted him, he’d be in the UFC,” he continued. “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.”
Henderson may fight his first fight with his new home in April 2010. Possible opponents for Henderson include Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields or light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi. A bout against top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko may also be in the works.
“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,” Henderson said about his signing with Strikeforce. “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. I’d also 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.”