Dan Henderson is Once Again MMA’s Hottest Free Agent

Written by Tom Ngo
August 1st, 2011

Strikeforce Middleweight Light Heavyweight Dan Henderson

Does anyone know what the going rate is for a 40-year-old free agent? Brett Favre may have earned a one-year $16.5 million contract from the Minnesota Vikings when he hit the Big 4-0, but don’t expect reigning Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Dan Henderson to be entering Favre’s tax bracket anytime soon.

However, Hendo’s stock has never been higher following Saturday’s highlight reel TKO of Fedor Emeilanenko. It would make all the sense in the world for him to try and cash in while his flavor of the moment status is still intact, but the 14-year veteran claims it’s completely out of his hands.

“I’d like to defend my belt in Strikeforce, but it’s all up to Strikeforce and now Zuffa, the new owners,” Henderson expressed after his upset victory. “We’ll see what happens, but I’m just going to enjoy this victory for a while.”

The last time the living legend hit the open market was after he posterized Michael Bisping at UFC 100 in July of 2009. Instead of re-upping with the planet’s premier mixed martial arts organization, Henderson opted to take his talents to Strikeforce.

After getting outbid by his stateside rivals, UFC president Dana White claimed he didn’t really intend on retaining Henderson to begin with.

“Here’s the reality, if I wanted him, he’d be in the UFC,” White previously stated. “If I wanted him, I would have signed him by now.”

However, much has changed within the sport’s landscape since that time. Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC, solidified their status as the world’s baddest MMA organization by purchasing Strikeforce this past March.

Although CEO Scott Coker is still supposedly calling the shots for Strikeforce, many in the industry believe White is actually the one pulling the strings from afar. While Henderson shunned the UFC the last time he was a free agent, his relationship with White has remained more than cordial so there is no reason to believe he can’t rejoin the company.

Henderson commanded a $100,000 base salary to go along with a $150K win bonus for his UFC 100 victory. He reportedly made a flat $250,000 payday in each of his four Strikeforce fights. Please keep in mind, these figures don’t include the top secret discretionary bonuses that aren’t required to be reported to the athletic commissions.

After dropping a unanimous decision to Jake Shields in his Strikeforce debut, Henderson went on to knockout his next three opponents en route to capturing the 205-pound crown. He owns a 28-8 professional record.

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