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Posted on July 14, 2012 by Jack Thurman
There are no shortage of former pro wrestlers who have successfully made the transition to MMA. From “Mr Wrestling” Vince Torelli (who’d eventually become famous under his real name ‘Ken Shamrock’) to former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar, professional wrestlers are well represented in the sport both in the United States and Japan. Now former WWE champion Dave Batista is hoping to follow their lead.
Batista has been training to fight MMA for several years now, but due to circumstances largely beyond his control (eg: the purchase of Strikeforce by UFC parent Zuffa LLC.) he’s not been able to book an actual fight–until now. Batista will make his MMA debut on October 6 for the CES promotion in New England. The event will take place at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI. His opponent will be a fighter named Rashid Evans (and, no, we’re not talking about former UFC light heavyweight champion ‘Suga’ Rashad Evans).
Perhaps the biggest concern about Batista’s ability to make the transition to ‘shoot fighting’ is his age–he’s a relatively long in the tooth 42 years old. That’s an age where most fighters are thinking seriously about calling it a career, if they haven’t done so already. On the other hand, Batista has a lot to work with–he’s got a strong athletic background and his size and strength are certainly not an issue at 6’6″ 290 pounds.
He’s also got one high profile detractor dating back to his pro wrestling days–former WCW heavyweight champion Booker T says that Batista will ‘get killed’ in MMA. Worth noting that there’s plenty of ‘bad blood’ between Booker T and Batista–the two were famously involved in a backstage altercation during their WWE tenure. Booker went on to suggest that Batista ‘wouldn’t last five minutes’ in a MMA fight with another former pro wrestler, Bobby Lashley. Whether or not that is the case, it’s something of an unfair comparison at this stage of Batista’s career. Lashley is not only younger than Batista (he’s 35) but has considerably more ‘real world’ MMA experience. Lashley’s MMA resume isn’t exactly distinguished, but he’s had 9 professional fights compiling a 7-2 record. Once Batista gets a few actual fights under his belt it would be a more valid comparison and something that some promoter somewhere will likely book as a real fight.