Right or Wrong – Hendo’s a Fighter

Dan Henderson - Still a ChampionBy Katrina Belcher (KatrinaBelcher@mmaratings.net)

Dan Henderson is a legendary fighter. He’s always struck me as a gentleman. During PRIDE he proved himself to be a worthy opponent, with superior ground skills, but with an incredible ability to fight an excellent stand up game – complete with deadly knock out power.

Henderson’s always been known as a “nice guy” with a killer’s instinct in the ring. Kinda’ how it should be. His stint as a coach on TUF 9 confirmed him to be a nice person, and someone who is not quick to anger. That’s a good thing, because we all know the first rule of fighting is never to fight in anger (corny Zorro plug!)

Legendary fighter, a gentleman, not quick to anger…could it be all those were just misconceptions? For most people, Saturday night showed us a different side to Hendo – but did it really? I don’t think so. Let’s get real – the man’s a fighter. Up until now he has always exhibited good sportsmanship and has been an excellent example of what an MMA fighter should be…and he proved just how superior a fighter he is to Michael “The Count-Him-Out” Bisping at UFC 100 Saturday night. Just into the 2nd round of their fight, Bisping was knocked out cold by one of Hendo’s famous loaded right hands. Oh…and another one. I don’t think he saw either one of them coming.

Yeah – I know he told Joe Rogan in the post-fight ring interview: “Normally, I’m not that way in fights. I know if the guy is out, I tend to stop. I knew I hit him out. I think that one was just to shut him up a bit.” But watch the video above closely – you’ll see he knocks Bisping out, and then goes down for the kill. He doesn’t hesitate; he doesn’t appear to be thinking about it — instinct took over and he just did what a fighter’s been taught to do…keep hitting until the ref calls it or the bell rings.

So when he said what he did, I think he was just playing to the crowd. Truly, we’ll never know what was really in his mind, but I don’t think he had time to think to himself: “hey – Bisping’s out…look at him lying on the floor like that; I think I’ll punch him again just to shut him up a bit!” and then proceed to do so. There just wasn’t enough time for that much processing!

If that second punch really was mean spirited, then I don’t like what Dan Henderson did at all; in my book that adds up to unsportsmanlike behavior – and anyone who knows me knows how I feel about that. And as much as I wanted him to kick Bisping’s ass, no one should be pounded like that after already being knocked silly. I don’t think it was though.

On a personal level I do understand where he was coming from… People in my dojo, even my own son, think it’s real funny to come up behind me and yell “boo” to see me jump around and get ready to belt them one. Usually my black belt training takes over, I control myself, look first, and manage to keep from hitting them. But a few times, especially when I was really concentrating on something, someone’s come up behind me, yelled BOO…and then found themselves in major pain or lying flat on the floor. Instinct. And that’s just while training at the dojo, not while I was in the middle of a heated fight!

Given the bad blood between them (which was NOTHING when compared to the Tito/Shamrock crap – Hendo and Bisping were BFF’s compared to those two) and Hendo’s desire to kick him to the curb for going on and on and on…about absolutely nothing during the TUF 9 show, not to mention how much he gloated about the Brits kicking the asses of the U.S. team, he abused Henderson’s fighters on many levels, and he acted more like “one of the guys” than he did a coach – so much so that Dan just wanted to shut him up.

Finally, let’s not forget it’s the ref’s job to call a fight — which Yamasaki did as soon as he saw Michael Bisping was out, so he did his job. But should Henderson have noticed Bisping was out after he hit him with the big one, jumped in the air to then go down to give him another whack, all in that split second…and stopped himself? Well, yeah. But he obviously was already in the act of following through with his combo; then adrenaline and instinct took over. Dan Henderson did what he was trained to do, plain and simple. I don’t have to like it, but I do understand it. And he HAS apologized for it, right?

In my opinion, Dan “Hendo” Henderson is still a gentleman, still a fighter, and still a force to be reckoned with – can’t wait to see him fight again!

Everything else aside – Bisping looked to be in pretty scary condition after the fight. Hope to see him up and talking again real soon!

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