Forget about the H-bomb, Dan Henderson is dropping the H-word.
The former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion is pondering the long-term effects of his epic, five-round war of attrition against fellow MMA elder statesman Mauricio Rua, which took place at UFC 139 back on Nov. 19, 2011, at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California.
"Shogun" was bloodied, battered and bruised, but never out of the fight, as evidenced by his gritty comeback in rounds four and five to nearly finish "Hendo" before throwing himself on the mercy of the judges.
When the smoke cleared, Henderson squeaked by with a unanimous decision win.
"Henderson vs. Shogun" earned "Fight of the Night" honors at the UFC 139 post-fight press conference... but at what cost? No one wants to play Buzz Killington, but it's also irresponsible to ignore a fighter who says he was dizzy, seeing stars and suffering from blood loss.
And allowed to continue.
Hear what Henderson said about the one question "better left to doctors" (via Sherdog.com):
"It was a good one to watch, but I think the fans would have been talking quite a bit about it too if it ended after three rounds with him barely living through it. But yeah, I guess it made it more dramatic with him kind of coming back at the end of that fourth and fifth round. It could be good for the sport. I know there’s probably a lot more new fans that watched that fight that are hooked now. I think [the referee] could have stopped it and I don’t think anyone would have bitched. … Honestly I don’t know how good that was for [Shogun’s] head, to take that much beating and still take more after that. That’s more of a question for the doctors and the people that are doing the head scans on him. Maybe that took a toll on his chin and he won’t be able to do that again."
Rua actually outlanded Henderson in total strikes by a margin of 191-113 and a staggering 161-73 to the head. But the bigger issue here is not volume, rather damage sustained.
Unlike boxing, we still don't have enough of a history to accurately determine the long-term consequences of punishment absorbed inside the cage, but one thing is for certain: Adding another two rounds to all main events certainly increases the likelihood of a negative outcome.