It was a bad day for fans of the UFC as we were verified by UFC president Dana White that Dan Henderson was forced to pull out of UFC 151 with a torn MCL. The news turned for the worse when White announced that the event was called off as he blamed champ Jon Jones for refusing a fight with Chael Sonnen on late notice. Now in the aftermath of the news, ESPN.com writer Josh Gross has had a chance to sit down with ‘Hendo’ to get his thoughts on what transpired.
“I struggled for a few days but really hard for the last couple days,” he said of the final decision. “I tried to get a hold of [UFC president] Dana [White] last Monday. Got a hold of him on Tuesday, and they flew me out to Vegas. That whole two or three days [were] tough to figure out, and even then after I met with his doctors I was still on the fence with it. I went back and really tried and gave it a tougher workout to see where I was at.
“It was tough to come to terms with me not being able to fight.”
With Henderson initially unsure if he would be able to fight through the injury, he says the news of his injury only leaked after speaking with White.
“The minute I told UFC and went and told Dana is when everyone asked questions,” Henderson said. “That’s one of the reasons I kept it to myself and my camp only. I have to commend my guys for doing a pretty good job of not opening their mouths knowing I was hurt.”
With Jones recently pointing the finger back at Henderson for the cancellation of UFC 151, Henderson responds.
“I didn’t feel responsible. I felt horrible that I had to back out. It’s not something I wanted. I had no idea what I could have done to change that, other than not get hurt.”
“I didn’t ask, ‘Hey, what’s going to happen if I pull out?'” he said. “That wasn’t what it was about. It was about whether I could fight or not. I didn’t need to know. In my mind, I didn’t have the right to know. I didn’t want to know if my fight was guaranteed if I pulled out, making it easier for me to pull out. I didn’t really want to know what was going to happen. I wanted to make sure I made the decision based on the fact if I could fight or not. Even now it’s unknown what will happen with my next fight.”
In regards to his thoughts on the new match-up between Jones and Belfort, Hendo did not seem to approve.
“I’m not really interested to see the fight, and I’m a fan of both guys. I don’t think the fans are going to be real interested … I didn’t feel responsible. I felt horrible that I had to back out. It’s not something I wanted. I had no idea what I could have done to change that, other than not get hurt.”
When asked on what he would of done if he were in the champ, Jon Jones’ shoes.
“The bottom line is, if I was in shape ready to fight on a date and I’m healthy, I’ll fight anyone at that point, especially if I’m supposed to be defending a belt if I’m the top guy in a weight class,”.