At Thursday’s UFC 104 press conference in Los Angeles, UFC President Dana White said contract negotiations with free agent middleweight contender Dan Henderson broke down as Henderson sought to be the highest paid fighter in the promotion (via MMAjunkie):
“We’re at a stalemate right now. The money that [Henderson] is asking for would make him by far the highest-paid guy in the UFC.
You know what’s [expletive] hilarious? I went to dinner last night, and [Henderson’s] lawyer and (Strikeforce CEO) Scott Coker are sitting at dinner together last night. I said, ‘What are the [expletive] odds that out of every restaurant in L.A., the one that I go to, these guys are here?
The negotiations are done. I made [Henderson] an offer, and I guarantee you the offer that I made him, Strikeforce can’t pay.
I like Dan. We’re totally cool. You’ll never hear me say a bad thing about Dan Henderson, other than he’s ugly, and that’s just the truth.”
Henderson’s manager, Aaron Crecy, responded to White’s claims with Sherdog:
“Contracts are confidential, so that statement’s impossible to prove or disprove. However, we have done our due diligence. We certainly don’t believe that to be the case. Dan understands and we have a certain belief on where he stands in the hierarchy. Certainly there are champions and former UFC champions that deserve to be paid more than Dan.
The only reason we spoke with Strikeforce, if I’m not mistaken, was because Dana suggested we do so, at a time when he said the UFC wasn’t prepared to pay Dan what he’s asking, and that’s fine.
Right now (Dan’s) just trying to gather information, and that’s his right to do as someone who has no obligation to any particular organization. After negotiating exclusively with the UFC for the last few months, he’s exploring what options there are.
Our position has never been to argue in the media. We understand where the economy is. The last thing Dan wants to do is complain about money to fans. Ultimately, Dan does have a good relationship with and a great deal of respect for (UFC owners) Dana, Lorenzo (Fertitta), and Frank (Fertitta). He has nothing negative to say about them. Nothing’s done until a contract’s signed. Period.”
Pictured: Dan Henderson