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Why Is Dan Henderson Getting a Free Pass?

LAS VEGAS - JULY 11:  (R-L) Dan Henderson connects with a right to Mike Bisping during their middleweight bout during UFC 100 on July 11, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IJuly 15, 2009

I have to admit that I didn't get to watch as much of the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter as I would have liked. I didn't see all the trash talking and taunting done by Team UK coach Michael Bisping.

Bisping has always been a loud mouth and rubbed people the wrong way. He's certainly not the first fighter to do so, and with fighters like Brock Lesnar as champion, he definitely won't be the last. With that being said, he in no way deserved what happened to him on Saturday night.

I've always had a great deal of respect for Dan Henderson. He is tough as nails, and one of the best fighters in the history of the sport. Henderson is an easy fighter to cheer for.

Henderson's knockout of Bisping was one of the most spectacular in the history of the UFC. Henderson's subsequent shot that followed to a prone Bisping was one of the most despicable, yet no one seems to have a problem with it.

I understand that when a fighter that people don't like gets knocked out like Bisping did, no one will shed a tear for him. It was an eye-popping moment that will likely become a staple in the highlights of the company for years to come.

After the fight, Henderson made the following comments about the knockout, "I don't know if he'll ever shut his mouth. I think that last (forearm) was just to shut him up."

Henderson is basically saying the last shot was done on purpose with malice intent. For that alone, he should have been fined or had part of his purse taken away. Afterwards, in the post fight press conference, Henderson softened his stance a bit.

"Things happen when you're in the heat of the moment," he said. "The refs got to stop me. Who knows what's going to happen? He could get back up. I didn't go after him after the ref stopped the fight. It was just a reaction to keep going until I got stopped."

I just can't buy this as an apology, and the UFC shouldn't stand for it either. If you review the bout, it is clear that Bisping is out cold before even hitting the canvas. Henderson either doesn't pay attention when he's fighting, or he truly had bad intentions in going after Bisping.

There have been plenty of knockouts in the UFC where the fighter delivering the blow doesn't follow up because it's obvious his opponent is no longer conscious. Henderson chose to ignore what he saw and decided to be a "tough guy" and potentially cause serious injury to Bisping.

If Bisping had been seriously injured, the sport of MMA would be dead in this country. The last thing that Dana White or the UFC right now is for one of their fighters to die in the Octagon, especially when it would have been a situation like this that could have been prevented.

This wasn't Henderson's first fight, or even first spectacular knockout. As a veteran and leader of this sport, he must display the true fighting spirit that is preached in this sport and not give into settling a feud based solely on fight-hype.

Fighters constantly tell anyone that listens that this sport is about honor, discipline, and respect. Henderson showed none of those values in his fight against Michael Bisping.

If Henderson wants to be the fighter that he thinks he is, he needs to apologize to Bisping and MMA fans. His actions on Saturday night are the exact type of fodder that haters of the sport will use to bash it to the masses.

It's not too late for Henderson to redeem himself. Hopefully, he sees the error of his ways, and he can again be a shiny example of the best sport going in the world today.

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