Dave Batista (right): Heather Rousseau/Splash News
Strikeforce officials are still floating around the idea of
promoting ex-WWE star David Batista’s mixed martial arts debut. The
promotion’s CEO Scott Coker said the pro wrestling personality and
his team met with Strikeforce following its June 16 event at the
Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
“They have the desire to fight in MMA and we’re trying to put
together a deal that makes sense,” Coker told the
Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show last week. “Is he
signed right now? No. But is he somebody we’d like to see in the
cage in the future fighting for Strikeforce? It’s a
The 41-year-old Batista, who was a repeated WWE champion during his
eight-year tenure with the pro wrestling outlet, has no reported
prior combat sports experience thus far, though Coker has been told
that Batista has already hired a striking coach and a ground
instructor to train with.
“Just like we did with Herschel (Walker), we’d have to put him into
a gym,” said Coker of a potential deal. “It doesn’t matter what
gym, as long as it’s a reputable mixed martial arts academy. He has
to go in there and train because if he didn’t, we’d probably have a
Coker said Batista’s star power, and specifically his ability to
draw on an equally strong demographic of viewers outside of MMA, is
an obvious selling point for the would-be fighter.
When asked if former WWE champion and decorated college wrestler
Lashley was under consideration as a potential opponent for
Batista, Coker acknowledged that the bout had some cache.
“That would just be a fun fight to watch,” said Coker.
If there were any right time to sign Batista, now could be a good
one. UFC President Dana White has repeatedly declared that his
pairing of pro boxer James Toney
against former UFC champion Randy
Couture in August is “a freak show.”
“We’re not the guys that are putting all the circus fights on,”
said Coker, “but in all fairness, look at Brock
Lesnar. He made the crossover. Why not Batista?”
As opposed to KImbo
Slice -- who was reportedly released by the UFC after a
second-round defeat to fellow novice Matt
Mitrione in May -- Coker said there was an element of surprise
in how Batista would fair.
“I think Kimbo’s had his run, so to speak,” said Coker. “He’s kind
of had his time in the MMA business whereas Batista hasn’t and
Herschel hasn’t. We already know how Kimbo will do, so, to me,
there’s a little curiosity factor (with Batista).”