Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently made an appearance on Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown program and during that appearance he confirmed rumors that his promotion has been in contact with former WWE star Dave Batista and defended their choice to possibly sign and promote the former professional wrestler.
“They have the desire to fight in MMA and we’re trying to put together a deal that makes sense,” Coker said of Batista and his management team. “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 possibility.”
Coker told Sherdog that Strikeforce is considering employing the many-time WWE champion despite the fact that he has no recorded combat sports experience, including amateur wrestling. However, Coker did state that in order for Batista to be seriously considered for a position on the Strikeforce roster he will have to join an MMA gym and train seriously.
“Just like we did with Herschel [Walker], we’d have to put him into a gym,” said Coker. “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 short relationship.”
Should he get signed, Batista would not be the only former professional wrestler on the Strikeforce roster. Bobby Lashley is currently signed to Strikeforce and competing in the promotion’s heavyweight division. Coker mentioned that a fight between Batista and Lashley is something that he would not be opposed to promoting.
“That would just be a fun fight to watch,” said Coker.
Coker also presumably took a jab at the UFC; whose figurehead, Dana White, frequently calls out other promotions for putting on “freakshows” but has employed street fighter Kimbo Slice and boxing champion James Toney. Coker also pointed to the fact that former pro-wrestler and current UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar has successfully made the crossover from fake sport to fight sport and therefore so can Batista.
“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?”
Coker believes that, like Kimbo Slice and Herschel Walker, the prospect of Batista competing in MMA carries with it enough intrigue to justify giving the 41-year old a chance.
“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.”
The main flaw in Coker’s logic is the fact that Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar both entered into MMA on the strength of their athleticism and well-documented amateur wrestling experience. Batista has no such experience, is 41-years old and even his pro-wrestling career was marred by steroid allegations. Certainly competitive men like Herschel Walker and Batista deserve their chance to prove themselves worthy of mixed martial arts competition but pushing them onto one of the largest stateside MMA promotions in their respective first outings will not do much for the legitimacy of the sport.