Dan Henderson to Strikeforce
Strikeforce describes him as an "MMA superstar," and while that might depend on your definition, there's little doubt that their acquisition of Dan Henderson on Saturday marks the UFC's highest-profile exodus of talent since Andrei Arlovski in 2008.
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Henderson, who might have hit the accelerator on the last laps of his career with a big, scary win over Michael Bisping at July's record-setting UFC 100, spent months mulling offers. According to UFC's Dana White, his financial demands were "obscene." The UFC can afford obscene, but whether they judged it necessary in the case of Henderson -- traditionally a well-liked guy with a consistent performance level who doesn't move a lot of tickets -- is another matter.
At 39 and with a possible glass ceiling in the UFC's 185-pound division if he can't conquer Anderson Silva, Henderson might have been intrigued by the change in scenery. Jake Shields is a possible opponent; Cung Le would be compelling stuff. He can hang at either 205 or heavyweight. Already, there's talk of him facing Fedor Emelianenko, a fight I have a bizarre interest in seeing even though it's ridiculous.
How much of White's habit of politicking in press affected negotiations is something worth considering. (His spin is already out the door, with White telling Fanhouse that he "pushed" Henderson into signing with the competition and that he "wasn't worth" the money.) Henderson's manager, Aaron Crecy, told Sherdog that "[Strikeforce CEO] Scott Coker treated Dan with a great deal of respect and integrity throughout the negotiations, and that certainly affected his decision." It's not a hard line to read into.