After the news that Dan Henderson had signed for Strikeforce broke today, UFC president Dana White gave his thoughts on the matter to mma.fanhouse.
“He’s happy, but the reality is that I pushed him into signing that deal,” White said.
“I wanted him to s**t or get off the pot. He was in this limbo forever, and he needed more motivation to make a decision.”
It was widely reported earlier this year that White had rejected Henderson’s contract demands, believing them to be unrealistic. It’s something that the UFC’s president was keen to remind people in the wake of today’s news.
“Let me ask you a question. Do you think that there’s any guy we can’t get that I want? Other than Fedor? 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.”
“For the money he wanted, he’s not worth it. 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.”
Dana also took the opportunity to cast doubt on Strikeforce’s ability to maintain their current challenge to the UFC in the long term, even with Dan Henderson on-board.
“Nothing’s going to help Strikeforce. 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.
“I could care less. Here’s the reality: If I wanted him, 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.”
Only time will tell if what Dana White says is true. Certainly he has been proven right in the past when other rivals such as EliteXC and Affliction went under after paying over the odds to secure marquee signings.
Strikeforce’s Scott Coker is a respected figure in the industry with years of experience promoting fights though, and MMA fans will be hoping that he finds a way to succeed where others have failed.