Ben Henderson has left the UFC to sign with Bellator, which is a very interesting move for the world of MMA. Most importantly, this is a big move for Bellator’s lightweight and welterweight divisions, and it’s taking a top five fighter from the UFC ranks. Beyond that, the signing of a prime Ben Henderson from the UFC will change how fans look at the organization that really should change its name to Spikeforce.
Right now, Bellator is considered a league that’s interested in putting on fights for the fans, and has no qualms in putting older, less relevant-but-still-relevant fighters in the cage. Tito Ortiz, Stephan Bonnar, Kimbo Slice, and Ken Shamrock dominated headlines for Bellator in 2015, now Scott Coker has a big name fighter who has proven he can beat some of the biggest stars in the UFC.
The former WEC and UFC lightweight champ made the announcement on his website:
I’d like to officially announce my move over to Bellator MMA.
I’m beyond excited for this next phase of my career, it’s a big move, like any move when switching employers or jobs after having worked somewhere for such a long time.
I have to thank the BigMan upstairs for putting some amazing people in my life, my wife (first and foremost) and a lot of truly smart and insightful people behind the scenes who helped make the connections and negotiated this deal to bring it to fruition.
I’d be remiss to not thank Dana White and Lorenzo Fertita for the opportunities they presented me, you guys have helped me change my life for the better and to be able to provide my family with the things I didn’t have while growing up. For that I’ll always have the utmost appreciation. Thanks for all the advise you guys gave too, both business wise and personal.
And last but not least, to who it is I think of when I think of the UFC! Everybody behind the scenes who I personally dealt with every time I reported in or had to do something. Mayra, Melissa, Dave, Chris, Nick, Tracy, Joanie, Maura, Tony, Heidi, Ryan, James, Dave, Kaia (sp.???), Burt, Rob, Rudy, Stitch, House, Mike, Susie, Dean, Donna, Feryal, Sean, Joe, Brad, Jazzmine, Candice, Michelle, Reed, sorry I can’t name everyone or this list would go on for forever. There’s a whole ton of people behind the scenes who make that show what it is. You guys and girls are the ones who make that show great and allow us fighters to do what it is we love!!! Much love to you all and thanks for putting up with me for so long.
To my fans, thanks for all the love and support, I’ll keep giving you my all, opening up my heart and soul inside that cage. I’m excited for this next chapter and building new relationships with guys I’ve heard nothing but great things about like Scott Coker, Rich Chou and Mike Kogan.
Also, this signing by Bellator may mean that the UFC doesn’t have a monopoly on the sport, thus undercutting the anti-trust lawsuit they’re fighting. The big question: Will free agent Alistair Overeem go next? What about Aljamain Sterling? And will Henderson still be in EA UFC 2?