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 possibility.”
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 short relationship.”
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 Bobby 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).”