Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields and 15 Matchmaking Decisions That Backfired

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Dan Henderson vs. Jake Shields and 15 Matchmaking Decisions That Backfired
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When Dan Henderson defeated Rafael Cavalcante this past weekend, you can bet that the executives at Showtime and Strikeforce breathed a big sigh of relief.

It's been over a year now since Strikeforce pulled the Brinks truck up to Henderson's house, and just now, that investment is finally starting to pay off.

He's gone 2-1 so far in Strikeforce, including two devastating knockout wins. That's not so shabby, but when you consider what Strikeforce has invested in him, you should realize that they're not paying him to knock out Babalu Sobral on Showtime for a few hundred thousand viewers.

For what they're paying Henderson, they need him drawing big gates, fighting big names and looking competitive doing so.

Henderson is now in a position to do all of that. With a light-heavyweight title in hand, he's ready to step into marketable matchups against the likes of Fedor Emelianenko or Mo Lawal, should Lawal get back in the mix.

However, this all could have happened much sooner had Henderson defeated Jake Shields last April.

Strikeforce, along with just about everybody else, thought Henderson could keep the fight standing and get an easy win over Shields.  Because of that, Strikeforce let Shields enter the fight without getting him to sign a champion's clause or contract extension.

All of that backfired when Henderson tired out and would up getting dominated for the final four rounds of the fight.

It was a very expensive loss for Strikeforce and Showtime.

As much as Dana White and Scott Coker will tell you otherwise, fight promoters have their favorites, their chosen ones and their desired outcomes.

While White is always the first one to say "I told you so," when a marketable fighter loses, it's ridiculous to think he doesn't have some vested interest in the outcomes.

There are some MMA fights where there isn't really one outcome that is so much more desirable than the other. On the other hand, any time the more popular or more promoted fighter loses, it's a bit of a setback for the promotion.

Some setbacks are bigger than others.


Here are 15 fights that backfired on the promoters who set them up, with a conclusion to follow.

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