UFC President Dana White has chimed in on Benson Henderson signing with Bellator MMA, and gave at least a slight look at their mindset regarding not matching the deal offered on the Bellator end.
In an interview with MMAJunkie.com, White revealed that they had offered Henderson a deal which could have been quite lucrative, but was apparently back-loaded compared to what he’s signed.
“The truth is we made him an offer that would have paid him substantially more – like not even in the same ballpark – than he’s getting now if he were to become world champion again, but he chose their deal, which offered more up front,” White said. “He’s a former world champion who’s ranked No. 15 now. We’re looking for top-5 guys, guys that are going from 15 to 1, not the other way around.
“But I’m honestly happy for Benson. I’m not angry. Who knows? This could be the last contract he ever signs. He got the right deal for him. He’s a great guy, and we wish him all the best.”
There’s no word yet on when Henderson will debut, nor at which weight class he’ll compete given his last two bouts came at welterweight.
Penick’s Analysis: White suggesting Henderson is on his way down because of his current ranking is some serious mental gymnastics on his part. Henderson’s at 15 because he switched divisions. His last two lightweight losses came to the champion and in a questionable decision to the last challenger. To suggest he’s going the wrong way is asinine on its front. On top of that, saying they offered him a deal that would have had a jump should he become champion again is ridiculous, because that’s assuming they ever booked him in another title fight to begin with. With no guarantee that would ever come, Henderson 100% made the right call in taking the more guaranteed money up front, without question. This is a laughable characterization on where Henderson’s at in his career, and to the way White is suggesting the UFC sees him. Regardless, it’s further validation on Henderson’s decision, and he’ll have a chance to prove he’s worth what he was commanding in Bellator.
[Photo (c) Ron Chenoy via USA Today Sports]
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