clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Dan Henderson: Rosa Parks or David Caruso?

Former UFC and PRIDE star Dan Henderson spoke to the LA Times recently about the financial motivation to sign with Strikeforce after his UFC contract expired.

It has an interesting look at both sides of the revenue equation which has the pendulum swinging between the promotion that gives a fighter the opportunity to make a name for himself and the fighter that gives a promotion the opportunity to generate business.

Naturally the fighter must hold up his end of the bargain, namely by winning, but how much is his blood, sweat and tears worth?

It's not a new dilemma, as record labels, movie studios -- even the WWE all have the eventual showdown with talent that wants their reward to run congruent with their value.

Though unlike Randy Couture, Henderson lost some of his bargaining leverage from being in-between contracts and did not have "The Natural's" clout or a division championship.

But consider these arguments:

Henderson: I lost my cut of the UFC 100 pay-per-view revenue when my fight with Michael Bisping was bumped from the co-main event.

UFC: You received a $100,000 fight bonus for knocking out "The Count" -- and a $90,000 Land Rover for putting up with his shtick on TUF (Note: The Land Rover broke down and stranded Hendo on the way home).

Henderson: The UFC charges apparel sponsors (like Henderson's own Clinch Gear) a fee as high as $10,000 for four months of unlimited appearances in the UFC Octagon.

UFC: Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have poured millions into building the UFC brand, and their fighters have in turn profited handsomely in a growing sport that was a bush-league, toughman contest a decade ago.

Henderson: "I never saw a dime [of UFC Undisputed.] Where do you think the money should go? The fighters are asked to sign away their likeness rights, and [Zuffa] tries to get it forever."

UFC: See Fitch, John.

Strikeforce: We give fighters the right to exploit their own likeness!

Henderson: "If enough guys start jumping ship, it will put pressure ... to let the fighters share in more of the revenue. [Strikeforce] needs some more heavyweights and 205-pounders, but as contracts in the UFC begin to expire, guys are going to start looking in a different direction now because of me."

UFC: "Nashville" sold two tickets because of Dan Henderson.

See more of the LA Times piece for additional perspective, but the question now is where do the fans stand on Dan Henderson and the UFC?

I understand a majority of fans don't care about the politics of the sport, they just want to see their favorite fighters throw down. But if Henderson finds financial success in Strikeforce, it could prompt other top fighters to follow suit.

That in turn could prevent some of the world's best from facing one another because they're signed to separate promotions.

Is "Hendo" leading the way to financial freedom? Or overestimating his street value while constantly searching for greener pastures?

A sticky situation indeed -- and a lot will depend on the outcome of his April 17 middleweight title fight against Jake Shields at Strikeforce: "Nashville."

Where do you stand?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania