Offers From Bellator, Road FC Likely Coming

Published on December 1st, 2015 4:53 pm EST

Former UFC Lightweight champion Ben Henderson may have fought his last fight in the UFC this past weekend.

Henderson, who is currently in the midst of a two-fight winning streak that includes wins over Jorge Masvidal and Brandon Thatch, has now finished his contract with the UFC and is set to test the free agent waters. In most cases, the UFC has been eager to lock up the services of former champions, though the promotion seems willing to let Henderson go.

Henderson seemed to allude to the fact that he may be leaving the promotion in his post-fight speech after defeating Jorge Masvidal via split decision this past weekend in South Korea. Henderson has complained about his contract in the past (especially when he was the Lightweight champion) and seems eager to test the free agent market.

There are a number of promotions who will likely be interested in Henderson's services, including Bellator and South Korea's Road FC. Road FC has already made Henderson a public offer, while Scott Coker is very likely to offer the former Lightweight champion a deal as well. Henderson has a Korean American mother, and as we saw in South Korea this past weekend, is tremendously popular in the country. Road FC offering Henderson a contract is a no-brainer and I would not be surprised if they end up landing his services.

Let's not forget in all of this that the UFC will have a right to match any deal that Henderson is offered. I would expect that the UFC will offer "Bendo" a deal to stay, though I don't get the impression that bringing Henderson back into the fold is a high priority for them. The UFC has often been fond of fighters who are willing to fight on short notice (as Henderson has been), so it will be interesting to see if that ends up playing a factor with Dana White and company.

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Road FC has already gone on record as saying that they are going to be offering Henderson a minimum of $200,000 per fight. Henderson's previous contract saw him earn a reported $48,000 to show and $48,000 to win, plus an additional $15,000 in sponsorship money from Reebok.

Even if the UFC offers a significant increase in money, which seems unlikely, Henderson will also have to consider the sponsorship money that he could make in a promotion like Road FC or Bellator. It seems likely that in order for the UFC to retain Henderson's services, the UFC will likely to have offer in the neighborhood of $250,000 per fight, which seems very unlikely to me.

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For at least the time being, I would expect Ben Henderson to be fighting outside of the UFC, likely in Korea's Road FC.


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