Ex-UFC fighter Dan Henderson reaches agreement with Strikeforce

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The sport's highest-profile free agent in recent months, Dan Henderson, is now Strikeforce bound.

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with Strikeforce officials that the former PRIDE title-holder and recent UFC fighter has agreed to a new deal with the California-based organization.

Strikeforce has since made the signing official, which included a quote from Henderson in which he wished the UFC continued success.

Terms of the multi-fight deal were not disclosed.

"We are excited to welcome Dan Henderson to Strikeforce," Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated. "Dan is one of the world's premiere fighters who has lived out an extraordinary career. We are looking forward to having him compete for us."

Henderson, a former top middleweight and light heavyweight contender in the UFC, fulfilled the fight terms of his previous contract with a knockout of Michael Bisping at UFC 100. However, while UFC officials hinted at a likely title shot for the winner, Henderson was passed over in favor of a bout between Vitor Belfort and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, which is tentatively slated for spring of 2010.

Henderson confirmed he was in negotiations with Strikeforce in November. Company officials confirmed the negotiations but declined to elaborate.

In October, UFC president Dana White said the 39-year-old Henderson, who made a base pay of $250,000 at UFC 100 ($150,000 of which came in the form of a win bonus), simply demanded too much and would have become "the highest-paid UFC fighter" if the UFC gave him what he wanted.

He later told MMAjunkie.com Radio that Henderson never seemed serious about getting a deal done and may have been influenced by Tito Ortiz's recent new deal.

"The [expletive] that Dan came in and said in my office and what he wants, it's unrealistic, and he knows it," White said. "And it's basically based off of, 'I heard this guy is making this, and I heard this guy made (this much).' Basically, what everybody gets ****ed off about is Tito. 'Oh, I heard Tito is making all this money, and Tito is this and that.' And it's because Tito likes to go out there and stay stuff like that or somebody in his camp did.

White suggested Strikeforce couldn't match what the UFC offered.

"The negotiations are done," White said. "I made [Henderson] an offer, and I guarantee you the offer that I made him, Strikeforce can't pay."

Despite the comments, Henderson stated in today's press release that he had no hard feelings with his former employer.

"Strikeforce and its growing roster of world-class talent will offer me many exciting fights and has the ability to bring many new fans from all around the world to mixed martial arts," Henderson stated. "I am grateful to Scott Coker for the opportunity to help make this happen and for treating me with the utmost respect throughout our negotiations.

"I'd also like to thank Dana (White) and the UFC for the opportunities they provided me, and I wish them ongoing success. I'll continue to watch their events, and I hope they'll tune in to my fights in Strikeforce. After all, I'm a true fan of our fantastic sport and would love only to see MMA continue to grow."

The addition of Henderson to Strikeforce provides a known commodity for future broadcasts on CBS or Showtime while also providing a legitimate contender to both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, which feature Jake Shields and Gegard Mousasi as respective champions.

Henderson (25-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC), a collegiate wrestler at Cal State Fullerton and Arizona State University, represented the U.S. Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling team in 1992 and 1996 before turning pro in MMA in 1997. The UFC 17 heavyweight tournament winner became the first fighter simultaneously to hold two titles in a major organization (PRIDE) in 2005. He returned to the UFC in 2007 following the UFC's purchase and eventual disbanding of PRIDE.

MMA Junkie

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Seen this coming.. I'm surprised it didn't happen earlier. I'm a fan of henderson, always have been, however when it comes down to business, he's just not as profitable as someone like tito ortiz. It's sad but true. Henderson will do well in strikeforce, but then again it's not that difficult a task, the only one in strikeforce i can see giving an issue is Gegard. Jake shields is talking smack like he can compete against hendo but i can't see it honestly, i think he would run through shields very quick. If he's happy with the deal strikeforce gave him, more power to him, but he's not gonna find much to challenge him.

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Why did Tito (supposedly) get a great deal? He has a huge head and he's annoying to listen to.

he's extremely annoying.. however he's VERY marketable and brings in alot of ppv buys, whereas hendo does not.

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