MMA Fighting is reporting that Dave Bautista, better known to pro-wrestling as ‘The Animal’ Batista, is close to signing a deal with Strikeforce. Taking to a local DC radio station he said that that the two sides were “close” to having “actually agreed on a number last week”. He went to explain while there are still a few details left outstanding he’s confident that they “should have a deal real soon. Hopefully I’ll be fighting in March”.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has made no secret of his interest in signing Bautista and possibily matching him up against fellow pro-wrestler Bobby Lashley. In a company that has consistently struggled to create stars since the decline of lynchpin Frank Shamrock the attraction of signing a readymade superstar with years of exposure on WWE television is obvious, although the sporting merits are less clear.
Unlike Brock Lesnar or even Bobby Lashley, Bautista has no amateur wrestling experience having been a club bouncer and bodybuilder before being signed by Vince McMahon and company. He also has a history of injuries, having been out of action at various times due to problems with his triceps, bicep and hamstring. Bautista puts the blame on his injury problems on the grind of the WWE schedule saying that “there is nothing more brutal” and that “the last few years I was an inch away from breaking my neck every night”.
For these reasons there had been significant scepticism about the seriousness of Bautista commitment to a future mixed martial arts career this despite the former pro-wrestler and aspiring acting showing genuine enthusasim for the sport, showing himself to be knowledgeble about fighters and dedicated when training at the Cesar Gracie camp.