Morning Report: Josh Barnett explains failed Zuffa deal; Dan Henderson claims Anderson Silva 'manipulates the UFC'

Esther Lin

UFC President Dana White recently divulged that if heavyweight free agent Josh Barnett had come to terms with the UFC, he would instantly have been cast against former champion Junior dos Santos. Of course none of that matters now, however, as Barnett rejected the UFC's advances and dos Santos was quickly paired off with Alistair Overeem.

Barnett has yet to explain why exactly he eschewed the Zuffa beast, though Monday he released a statement which shed some light on the subject through his manager. Our own Ariel Helwani aired it during the The MMA Hour.

"I was excited to fight Junior," the statement read. "I thought he was a favorable match up for me, but Zuffa was unwilling to give me something that they gave Eddie Alvarez. No disrespect to Eddie, but I felt it was fair to give it to me as well.

"Although things seem to be working out well for me, I feel bad for the fans. They wanted me to fight certain guys in the UFC and I really wanted to give them those fights. Once we get the deal we are working on done, the fight the fans scream for will be lost forever."

Judging by the latter portion of the statement, its easy to surmise that Barnett is close to inking a long-term deal with a promotion not owned by Zuffa. So there's that.

Though Barnett's explanation also begs the question of what exactly it was that the UFC was so unwilling to match. To refresh, Alvarez's UFC contract included a sizeable signing bonus, a tiered share of pay-per-view revenue, an "intent" to grant an immediate title shot, a guaranteed booking on a UFC on FOX card, and three "commentator" appearances on UFC-branded media.

If you hold Barnett's manager to his word, money was allegedly never an issue. And while a bout against dos Santos isn't exactly a title shot, Barnett by his own admission was "excited" for the opportunity.

So that really just leaves a booking on FOX or guaranteed "commentator" appearances, both of which seem to be curious sticking points for "The Warmaster." Though speculation is probably the best we'll get for the time being.

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7 MUST-READ STORIES

Barnett explains failed deal. Free agent heavyweight Josh Barnett issued a statement through his manager revealing that he turned down the UFC's contract offer because Zuffa was unwilling to give him "something they gave Eddie Alvarez."

MacDonald injured. An undisclosed neck injury to Rory MacDonald forced the young Canadian out of his co-main event clash against Carlos Condit at UFC 158. UFC officials tapped the services of welterweight contender Johny Hendricks as a short-notice replacement after Strikeforce welterweight champion Tarec Saffiedine turned down the bout.

The MMA hour. Ariel Helwani and The MMA Hour are back in your life with another stacked lineup featuring Cris Cyborg, Tito Oritz, Ronda Rousey's mother Ann Maria DeMars, Marloes Coenen, referee John McCarthy, Matt Riddle, Court McGee and Jason Reinhardt.

Henderson: Silva manipulates UFC. When asked about UFC middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva, former champ Dan Henderson told MMA Interviews: "For the last five years (he) has tried to pick and choose who he fights and manipulates the UFC a little bit. ... You know he didn't want to fight me again. He kind of tries to stay away from guys that are dangerous or have a dangerous style for him, especially because he's looking toward the end of his career and he wants to retire without losing again. It's not necessarily how a champ should be, but at the same time, he's trying to be smart about things."

McCarthy talks UFC judging. With botched calls from judges and referees running rampant throughout the UFC, "Big" John McCarthy believes officiating still has a long way to go to reach the level of excellence that should be expected.

FUEL 7 judges reviewed, sanctions stay private. UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner reviewed the judging at UFC on FUEL 7, according to a report from MMA Junkie. Said Ratner of the performance, which was littered with curious scorecards, "I've already talked with a judge, and I met with all the officials after the fights. We'll do some stuff internally, but we don't talk about that to the public."

UFC on FUEL 9's lost co-main. Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano was initially booked as UFC on FUEL 9's co-main event, according to a report from Fighters Only, However Garry Cook, UFC Executive Vice President of Europe, pulled the women's bout after ruling it unsuitable for Swedish audiences.

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MEDIA STEW

"The day after, [Dana White] and Lorenzo [Fertitta] called me together. They just had watched the fight. They loved it. They were captivated by the whole thing." - Ronda Rousey, recalling her victory over Miesha Tate on Sportscenter.

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Nothing new here, but no clue how I've never seen this before. Check out footage of Matt Hughes and nice guy Georges St-Pierre immediately after GSP proclaimed just how unimpressed he was by Hughes' performance.

(HT: Reddit)

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Do yourself a favor and skip ahead to 1:35 to let Paul "Piglet" Gaffney surprise you with his destructiveness. (Also you might want to turn your speakers down.)

(HT: CagePotato)

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At this pace, expect 100 MMA-themed "Harlem Shake" videos to be uploaded to YouTube by the end of the week. Roger Huerta did his part. (So did Bec Hyatt. And Marcelo Garcia.)

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Tonight's episode of TUF 17: Bubba McDaniel vs. Kelvin Gastellum.

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One word: Brilliant.

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KEEPING THE CAUSE ALIVE

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ASK D.C.

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THAT FEEL

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OH, OKAY

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FORREST

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Monday, February 18, 2013):

  • UFC 158: Rory MacDonald (14-1) out with injury, Johny Hendricks (14-1) in against Carlos Condit for co-main event
  • UFC 158: Mitch Gagnon (9-2) out with injury opposite Issei Tamura (7-3)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day sees SecondhandMMA forecast Zuffa's most likely additions with: UFC's Prospect List: Early 2013

Dana White has said that every member of this seasons TUF will get to pay their dues in the Octagon, so the prospect list may sit on the shelves of the UFC scouters. Once the TUF alum begin to pick themselves off, however, expect White and company to start their searches for these divisional standouts. Here is the Prospect List.

Heavyweight: Tyler East

The current King of the Cage heavyweight champion is riding a 9 fight winning streak, with 7 finishes among the bunch. Among his streak, he's claimed the scalps of UFC veteran Fabiano Scherner and "Afrozilla" Nick Gaston. He has a chin, which he displayed after recovering from an overhand right dropped him in his KotC heavyweight title fight. A young fighter with knockout power, and a UFC heavyweight division with waning prospect options sounds like a good match. I'd like to see East get his chance to step up and fight in the big leagues.

Light-Heavyweight: Steve Bosse

At 31, the time is right for Bosse to make his step up. In the sport of MMA, the realistic window for his athleticism is beginning to close, and there isn't a better time for him to step into the UFC's most marketed division. The former pro hockey player rides a 7 fight win streak, punctuated by a vicious knockout of UFC veteran Houston Alexander. A huge fan favorite in Canada, it would be a shame to not see another crossover professional athlete join the UFC's ranks.

More after the jump...

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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