Did Tito Ortiz's return lead to Dan Henderson's possible UFC departure?
by MMAjunkie.com Staff on Nov 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm ET
With his vicious knockout of Michael Bisping at UFC 100, Dan Henderson fulfilled the terms of his previous contract, and a new one doesn't seem likely.
After butting heads with UFC president Dana White, who said Henderson's contract demands were "unrealistic," the veteran fighter could sign with a rival organization, most notably Strikeforce.
But when discussing the series of events as an in-studio guest on MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com
), White pointed to a potential and surprising culprit for Henderson's decision: Tito Ortiz.
Over the past couple months, Henderson (25-7 MMA, 5-2 UFC), a former top UFC middleweight and light heavyweight contender (who also simultaneously held two PRIDE belts), has remained in a state of limbo. Although White declared earlier this month that he was positive Henderson had signed with Strikeforce, no deal has been announced.
And while White said he and Henderson have discussed a potential new contract with the UFC, the executive said "Hendo" hasn't been serious.
"Dan is in I-don't-want-to-make-a-deal mode," White said on the Nov. 20 edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio. "There are some deals in which you go in and negotiate and make a deal. You know you want to make a deal. ... Dan Henderson knows he does not want to make a deal."
That's when White pointed to Ortiz, who recently ended a 16-month holdout and re-signed with the UFC, as a potential reason for Henderson's alleged stance.
"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 pissed 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.
"That's how [expletive] gets started. "
While no deal no seems imminent, and though Strikeforce officials have expressed interest in signing Henderson, White isn't shutting the door on getting a deal done – with Henderson or any other fighter, including Fedor Emelianenko.
"Doors are never closed," he said. "I'm in the fight business. We put on fights. Doors never close.
"Never say never. Dan could call me tonight. Fedor could call on three-way with him. We could sign them both up tonight if they want to call."