In a recent interview on The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, mixed martial arts legend Dan Henderson claimed that UFC President Dana White once cost him millions of dollars by demoting him on a UFC card.
Henderson stated that he was originally scheduled to be the co-main event for a major UFC pay-per-view, which would have earned him substantial pay-per-view bonuses based on his contract. However, White decided to bump Henderson down to the third match on the main card without informing him.
“I think GSP fought that night and Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar were supposed to be the main event and somebody got hurt and they pushed me, Dana bumped me down to the third spot and promoted it still is a co main event but didn’t pay me pay per view,” said Henderson about the incident.
He went on to explain that the pay-per-view bonuses alone could have earned him an additional $300,000 for that one outing.
Henderson voiced frustration about the slight, saying “You know, you always hear the story about Dana, you know, giving a bonus or whatever. You know, I never saw that. So we never got one of those locker room bonuses”
The alleged snub seems to have contributed to Henderson leaving the UFC shortly after to join rival promotion Strikeforce.
He has since reconciled with Dana White but still harbors some resentment over missing out on what would have been the biggest payday of his storied career.
While only one side of the story, Henderson’s account provides some insight into the frictions between stars and promoters over pay in mixed martial arts. The UFC has grown into a billion-dollar enterprise, but debates continue over compensation. Henderson believed he was entitled to life-changing money from his bout, but instead claims poor communication from management cost him the chance at his biggest purse.