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Dan Henderson Blames TV Politics for Strikeforce Absence

If you're wondering why it's taken Dan Henderson so long to return to action, the former PRIDE champion has a perfectly good reason for his absence from the Strikeforce scene.

"It wasn't [up to] me," Henderson said on Thursday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I was wanting to get back in there pretty quickly, but I think part of the problem was CBS kind of a little bit faltering on their commitment to mixed martial arts, especially after the little escapade in the cage after my last fight on CBS.

"You know, I don't quite understand that and they're definitely still wanting to be involved in mixed martial arts and with Strikeforce, but I think they're just gonna take their time on it a little bit more."

Henderson admitted that one of the main reasons why he signed with Strikeforce late last year was due to the fact that the organization had a broadcast deal in place with CBS, and he was a little upset that his next fight, now scheduled for Dec. 4 against Renato "Babalu" Sobral on Showtime, won't be airing on the network.

"It is disappointing [to not fight on CBS again], and the fact that that could have been easily avoided with the guys not coming into the cage after my last fight. It just gave them an out. But I also think that if CBS had a big problem with it, they didn't need to put it on their Web site, didn't need to replay it a bunch of times."

There was some hope that CBS would air one more MMA card before the end of the calendar year, but that now seems like a long shot. Regardless, Henderson believes the network is still committed to the sport.

"I don't know if they're trying to renegotiate or get a little bit more out of the door, but I think they're definitely still going to be on board. But that's kind of what they were waiting on. [Strikeforce] wanted me to be on the next CBS card and CBS took a while and finally [Strikeforce] just got tired of waiting. I thought I was going to fight two, three months ago, but that's the way it goes."

Henderson lost his promotional debut to Jake Shields in April. That fight was for the middleweight title, but his upcoming bout against Sobral will be a light heavyweight fight.

The 40-year-old won't rule out fighting at 185 again but says the weight cut prior to his last fight really affected him and he would rather stick around at 205 for the time being.

As for his experience working with Strikeforce thus far, Henderson hasn't doubted his decision to jump from the UFC to the upstart San Jose-based organization.

"They definitely like to make sure they try to take care of the fighters," Henderson said of Strikeforce. "They're very similar to a lot of other organizations. It's a nice outlet for these fighters to come fight; they put on a great show and they're pretty organized, as far as at the event. I've got no regrets, put it that way, about moving there. It's a lot less of a headache, a lot less red tape to deal with, as far as restrictions on what I can and can't do, as far as sponsorships go."

Sobral is coming off a win over Robbie Lawler in June. Henderson said he was surprised that the Brazilian would call him out instead of accepting a title shot, but Sobral explained that he wanted to avenge a loss to Henderson he suffered in the finals of the 1999 RINGS Kings of Kings tournament.

But even though they fought 11 years ago, Henderson won't even bother look at the tape of the fight.

"It was a different sport back then; I was a different fighter. I was just a wrestler back then. I didn't really know a whole lot and he was just a jiu-jitsu guy. It was in the finals of a 32-man tournament. We had four fights to get to that point, and I think I had three decisions and one kind of TKO thing, and I think he submitted all four guys [Ed. note: Sobral submitted two opponents and won two decisions]. So he was mostly a jiu-jitsu guy who didn't stand a whole lot back then and tried to take guys down. I avoided the takedown and won the fight, basically.

"I don't even want to look back on that one. I will look at a lot of his current fights and see what I can come up with as far as a game plan."

[Ed. note: Watch Thursday's episode of The MMA Hour below. Henderson's interview begins at the 29:00 mark. Monday's show lineup is here.]

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