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Dave Batista: Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures

About three or four weeks ago former WWE star Dave Bautista, more commonly known as simply “Batista“, bragged to TMZ reporters that he had signed a lucrative deal with Strikeforce. I finally thought that Scott Coker had jumped off the deep end and was wondering when the promotion was going to start the hype for Herschel Walker vs. Jose Canseco on PPV.

I’m inclined to guess that Strikeofrce CEO Scott Coker made some serious considerations about bringing in Batista and giving into whatever demands that the massive former professional wrestler desired. He could probably ask for stock in the promotion, picking whoever he wanted to fight, receive a certain percentage of the gate, and whatever else he wanted. About a week ago, Coker spoke to Sherdog about the possibility of bringing Batista into the promotion:

“They have the desire to fight in MMA and we’re trying to put together a deal that makes sense. 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.”

“Just like we did with Herschel (Walker), we’d have to put him into a gym. 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.”

“[A fight against Bobby Lashley] That would just be a fun fight to watch”

“We’re not the guys that are putting all the circus fights on. But in all fairness, look at Brock Lesnar. He made the crossover. Why not Batista?”

“I think Kimbo’s had his run, so to speak. 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).”

Folks, there are a lot of issues about Batista that we must cover, so let’s begin, shall we?

Age: At the age of 41, Batista is entering into MMA and is eight years older than Bobby Lashley and nine years older than Brock Lesnar. While that isn’t a necessarily evil, it doesn’t help that both Lesnar and Lashley took significant time off to let their bodies heal. Lesnar periodically wrestled in Japan, but he had a two year period to re-heal his body and begin serious training. Lashley essentially did the same thing, but he spent nearly year training after rehabbing a serious shoulder injury.

Another aspect that should be noted is the amount of time that Batista was a wrestler. The man wrestled for nearly a decade ranging from his debut in 2000 for Ohio Valley Wrestling (the WWE’s then developmental territory) to the end of his run with the WWE. In 2000, Lesnar went from amateur wrestling at the University of Minnesota directly to training in professional wrestling and spent a total of four years in wrestling. In 2003, Lashley suffered an injury while training for the Olympics and a year later was in wrestling. Lashley did a four year tour of duty and left the business until he joined TNA.

Experience: Much has already been written about Batista’s experience….or lack thereof entering into MMA. His bodybuilding experience brings up the horrors of watching Mariusz Pudzianowski with minimal skills and turning different shades of red and purple after three minutes of fighting. At least Lesnar and Lashley had the wrestling background, and Lesnar nearly made it into the NFL. You have to teach Batista everything from the ground up: Striking, Grappling, Jiu-Jitsu, Conditioning Wrestling, and minuscule things like teaching him how to use the cage, and possibly the ring. By sending him to a gym, Strikeforce is expecting the trainers of said gym to specifically devote time to him and get him battle ready by a certain date.

Injuries: Bautista makes Kerry Wood look like Brett Favre when it comes to injuries. Adding in the common injuries that a wrestler will suffer (bruises, muscle pulls, etc) and the possibility of suffering numerous concussions, Batista has suffered six injuries from 2003-2009 with only 2004 and 2007 being injury-free years.

March 1, 2003: Torn right triceps at a WWE house show

Later in 2003: Re-torn triceps, delaying his return to the ring

November 11, 2005: Muscle torn in his back at a television taping

January 6, 2006: Torn right triceps at a Live WWE Event

August 17, 2008: Hamstring Tear, would have surgery later

June 2009: Torn Left Bicep

How can a guy whose right triceps has been torn on three different occasions going to survive a full three-to-five month training camp? With the battery of injuries that he has suffered over the years, sticking him in a gym and hoping for the best ala Herschel Walker? When Walker began at the University of Georgia, he was a freak of nature due to his mixture of size and speed. When counting down the greatest running backs in college football history, a reporter summed him up perfectly: The body of Earl Campbell, the speed of OJ Simpson, and the presence of Archie Griffin. Go and type Herschel Walker into You Tube and spend some time watching his highlight reels and you’ll see the comparisons. After his career was over, Walker still kept himself is shape by working out and the way he looked at the Strikeforce event is the way the he’s looked since he retired from football. Add in no heavy drug usage and a strict diet, you can see that Walker could do very well for himself working in a gym like the American Kickboxing Academy.

Bret Hart wrote in his book that most wrestlers need help going down after the adrenaline high from a match and something to get them going in the morning. Most wrestlers began to rely heavily on mixing uppers and downers with whatever drugs they would usually intake. Overindulgence of drugs has lead to most wrestlers from the eighties and nineties dying before the age of four due to drug overdoses thanks to the availability of uppers, downers, painkillers, alcohol, amphetamines, and cocaine. Painkiller usage is especially high in the industry, with a common practice of wrestlers finding “mark doctors” to prescribe them copious amounts of painkillers and whatever else they wanted.

The WWE’s drug testing program that was suspended from 1997-2005 when Vince McMahon cited that it was too much of a financial burden for the promotion. A new “Wellness Program” was introduced after Eddie Guerrero’s death in 2005 and much has been written about how shallow the WWE’s Wellness Policy truly is. Anecdotes range from top stars reportedly not testing, top stars, rumors on non-wrestlers being asked to provide urine (A practice that ended when the company hired somebody to watch them urinate, and a practice that was made famous in the eighties) to the promotion suspending whom they wanted to suspended if they tested positive. The drug testing reportedly isn’t random, giving time for wrestlers to get a hold of masking agents or in extreme cases, siphoning in new urine.

If Alistair Overeem was nearly crucified before his American debut, how much flak will Batista get before his debut?

It’s obvious that Strikeforce wants their version of Lesnar. A futile yet admirable a want. By hoping that their pro wrestling careers will sell tickets and draw in great ratings on CBS and Showtime. While this sounds fine, you have to remember one fine, tiny detail: Lashley and Batista were replaceable in the WWE, Lesnar was not. A year after Lesnar left the WWE, fans wanted to see Lesnar return to the promotion. They were willing to pay 39.95 on PPV to watch him, or pay to see him at the arena; Lesnar was truly a true ticket-seller for the promotion. That’s why the promotion signed Lashley up, hoping to replicate the success with the blue-print they had built with Lesnar. But Lashley lacked the presence, charisma, and connection with the fans that made Lesnar so popular.

The problem is that both Lashley and Batista are interchangeable, as the promotion could replace them with somebody already on the roster or somebody from one of their developmental territories in three months. When Lashley left the promotion (While he was injured) he was practically forgotten by summer time. Everybody thought that Batista leaving the WWE would make a huge impact, but he’s already just a distant memory. A faded thought in the eyes of the fans. Will they draw in decent ratings? Probably, but you can’t replicate an original.

Strikeforce is a terrific promotion, and “Strikeforce: Houston” will have some great fights (Lawal vs. Cavalcante, Kennedy vs. Souza) but the event likely won’t draw well at the gate or in the ratings. Strikeforce is facing problems: Gina Carano’s return unlikely, Frank Shamrock’s retirement, Walker maybe having one more fight before he retires, and Cung Le not wanting to face top competition. Signing Batista is starting to look like a good idea. Have him fight somebody like Tim “Big Perm” Percy and then promote a Battle of The Champions fight with him and Lashley on CBS as apart of a last ditch card to stay on the air. It might not be the best thing to do, but business is business.

39 COMMENTS
  • bigbadjohn says:

    So what? You don’t have to have amateur wrestling credentials, submission grappling, or developed striking when you’re the LAST AIRBENDER!!!

  • fanoftna33 says:

    From the reports I have read from thr Gracie acadamy Batista is looking pretty good.

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    If he thinks he can do then let him.

    Don’t feed him any cans. Put him in with someone who knows how to fight. Put him and Lashley in together for his first fight then let the winner fight someone with some skills and if the winner won’t fight anyone but,some can fire them.

    Not that complicated.

  • Rece Rock says:

    “Strikeforce is facing problems….”

    Geez – you can say that again.

  • Lethal Liquid says:

    I’m in the if he wants to fight let him camp. Let’s see what he’s got. If he sucks it’ll show. I guess the idea is that hardcore fans wouldn’t respect Strikeforce for putting on such a fight. It could be the fact that some casual fans in the general public may associate pro wrestling with MMa. It something people think but don’t say out loud. If look at boxing you’ll find a lot of former athletes have tried to make that transition must with limited success. Bottom line is if Batista will bring more fans to the sport than I’m all for it

  • Angry Mike says:

    There’s something weird about Bautista’s neck in that photo. Maybe it’s the oversize trap muscles or just the angle, but it looks like he has an unnaturally long neck.

  • Rece Rock says:

    He will bring more fans to the sport… cross over fans that just want to see him and lashely mix it up after that they don’t care…80% of his fans are lil kids whom probably can’t watch MMA as per there parents anyway… the rest are obv. teens and adults whom like the novelty of it and will tune in for one night only. No doubt him and Lashley would do big numbers but where does it go from there? Lashely picks up another hollow win and Batista just proved he can’t hang sooo now what? Count a few bucks have a few laughs and move on? If he was younger and had credentials simliar to Lashely I’d say hey let these guys bang… but even if the fight happens a year from now you still know lashley is winning. It’s just a waste of time…except for the guys profitting from this and hey what can I say they gotta eat.

  • Dufresne says:

    I wouldn’t be too surprised if they do throw him in there with a can or two just to perk up ticket sales, and probably more importantly, viewership ratings. From that standpoint I can see them signing him better than I could see them signing Hershel. Yeah Hershel has combat experience and is just one of those natural freaks, but how many fans did he still have at 47 when he “transitioned” into MMA?

    Batista doesn’t have the fan base that Brock did when he came over, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have any fans. I would expect him to draw in a couple hundred thousand more views on whatever card he might end up on. Those aren’t huge numbers in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re last network card only did 2.6 mil on one of the biggest channels around those 250k are a significant % boost.

    There’s no way I see Batista ever amounting to much in MMA, and most of the reasons why were already stated in this article (injuries, no experience, age… etc), but if SF wants to throw in a circus event on their next card, I might be drunk enough to watch it.

  • Kamakosmo says:

    “From the reports I have read from thr Gracie acadamy Batista is looking pretty good”

    fanoftna….can I ask where you read these “reports”?

  • Kamakosmo says:

    Why shouldn’t they put him up against the so-called “can”? Just because he has a somewhat big name doesn’t mean shit. He has NO real combat experience at all. No wrestling backround to somewhat fall back on, and no other MMA training to speak of. So, to put him in the cage against a seasoned fighter with a decent record would be criminal.

    And Dufresne, I agree with you…I most likely will be drunk enough to watch.

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    seriously, hire a proofreader.

  • Dufresne says:

    Seriously, sentences start with a capitalized letter.

    Don’t bitch at someone else about grammar and spelling if you’re not going to do it in a complete sentence yourself.

  • Kamakosmo says:

    seriously, hire a proofreader.

    cocoonofhorror….get real dude. I know it may be hard for you to find time between MENSA meetings to post here, but do you really think taking time out of your day as the CEO of your Marketing firm to nitpick grammar is a smart use of your very important time. Rather than actually blog in a sensible MMA thought like the other’s have already done, you actually log in to say “seriously, hire a proofreader”. My man, get a life, friends, maybe even a girlfriend (I know, shocker to you)……loser.

  • Makington says:

    ” Overindulgence of drugs has lead to most wrestlers from the eighties and nineties dying before the age of four due to drug overdoses thanks to the availability of uppers, downers, painkillers, alcohol, amphetamines, and cocaine.”

    I’m not pissed that there are a couple spelling mistakes but that one was funny as hell. All these poor drug-addled wrestlers from the 80’s are dying before their fifth birthday!

  • Makington says:

    ps. I know he meant ‘age of fourty’ I just thought it turned a normal sentence into a funny one.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    As a huge pro wrestling fan,Dave Batista is easily the most overrated and underwhelming performer of all time.
    His physique was his only positive attribute in the WWE ,and is his worst attribute in MMA.
    If you google “CLUMSY” you will find this man’s photo.
    I hope someone signs him.
    It’s an interesting situation.
    I’m guessing he wants a big payday based on his apparent fame.
    And he won’t get what he wants from the smaller companies.
    It’s all up to Coker.
    I hope they sign they sign The Animal.
    I won’t hate him for doing it.
    I’m always up for a good spectacle.
    As long as they don’t make him the main event.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    P.S. where is $kala when you need him?

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    “as apart of a last ditch card to stay on the air. It might not be the best thing to do, but business is business.”

    Is Strikeforce in trouble? says who?.

    I think they should promote Lashley after he fights a couple of names. He is a fairly good fighter and could do well. Batista could do well too but the chances are slim.

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    “Seriously, sentences start with a capitalized letter.

    Don’t bitch at someone else about grammar and spelling if you’re not going to do it in a complete sentence yourself.”

    idiot, i dont run a news based website. this is one you should be able to figure out on your own.

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    “My man, get a life, friends, maybe even a girlfriend (I know, shocker to you)……loser.”

    OK, you make sense. someone who complains about sloppy content obviously couldnt have a life, friends, etc…

    the owner/operator of the site is a grown man, he doesnt need idiots like you sticking up for him. go white-knight somewhere else, hero.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Cokkoone,
    How olde arr yuu,Like for?
    Plezez give tha awthor a chanse.!?
    SHer he Fukks ups hes spulling, But mhan, at leeste he tryz hhaurde.!
    Pleez giv the kid a brake.

  • Dufresne says:

    “the owner/operator of the site is a grown man, he doesnt need idiots like you sticking up for him. go white-knight somewhere else, hero.”

    I never assumed that you did. Hypocrisy just rubs me the wrong way.

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    This all comes down to Strikeforce is looking for the next Brock Lesnar.

    UFC din’t spoon feed Brock any cans. 1st fight against Frank Mir a former HW champ and BJJ black belt. Sure Brock lost but, he was winning and made a rookie mistake.

    If they want to try to cram Lashley or Batista into that same mold and gain any kind of respect or legitimacy, then throwing a Wes Sims type fighter in with them will not get you far.

    Sure Batista’s muscles have muscles but, from the brief times I have watched him compete in WWE I never got the impression he had any kind of talent. Sure he might be able to bench press a VW but, that isn’t goping to help in MMA.

    He is big and clumsy and all those muscles will need O2 that they wont be able to get much of past 1 round. Either give him Lashley or some other legit HW or there is no point. Why have him throw around another Wes Sims or whatever other schlub SF can find in the local gyms?

    Lashley isn’t much better but, he at least has some legit wrestling background and a few MMA fights under his belt. Still not seeing much future for either guy.

  • Dufresne says:

    I agree with you Mad_Hatter_XX, the only problem is, Wes Sims would beat his ass.

  • Rece Rock says:

    “…Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures”

    Yeah I read a couple of articles yesterday that stated SF called off the tourney… Texas apparently doesn’t sanction one day tourney events and SF fighters in the tourney have too many scheduling conflicts to be able to spread it out over a number of events… so then they will just have the title fight that night…weeee!

    Who the FUCK announces a tournement with out even considering the rules of the sanctioning body in the state there doing it in…can anybody now understand why I can’t even think about supporting SF…. Can anybody really put a positive spin on this? They are simply fucking retarded.

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    Dufresne you may be right about Sims I just couldn’t for the life of me think of any other Strikeforce HW that wouldn’t totally maul him in 15 seconds.

    Point still remains fighting someone not preceived by the public or MMA fans at large as a semi-legit challenger is time and money wasted.

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    “I never assumed that you did. Hypocrisy just rubs me the wrong way.”

    clearly your reading comprehension and vocabulary are failing you. do not apply for the new proof reader position.

  • Angry Mike says:

    “Can’t we all just get along?” Rodney King

  • Dufresne says:

    “clearly your reading comprehension and vocabulary are failing you. do not apply for the new proof reader position.”

    Crap… I screwed up after bitching at you about screwing up…

    You win this round ADD.

  • Rece Rock says:

    I just read an article that quotes a SF official stating that if they can indeed get a lashley/ Batista match set up they would put it on a ppv card…?! Then the SF associate goes on to say hey you can’t go giving everything away for free! So you give your so called p4p best away for free everytime out, you give all your title fights out for free but this fight which is basically an amateur hour contest is destined for a ppv slot … Awesome. I’m all about making a buck but really your first ppv? I used to watch pro wrestling as a kid and would watch this fight for the novelty of it but it really bothers me that there’s guys killing themselves to stay relevant in this sport and they lose out to a guy whom really hasn’t paid any dues…

  • Kamakosmo says:

    Cocoonofhorror…can I just end this? The fact that you went out of your way to notify us all that the author made a very minor mistake is what is so fuckin’ annoying. Everyone that read this article caught it, some even made comments that made you laugh. But you acted all high and mighty with your “hire a proofreader” comment, as if no one else caught it. So what?

    And yes, I will say that someone who complains about an extreme minor slip up (not “sloppy content”) most likely has no friends, life, and definitely has no girlfriend. Are you 100% perfect/on-target in your job?

    If your sole reason to visit this site is to proofread each article and critique them, then just go away. Don’t want you.

  • Kamakosmo says:

    Rece Rock…..SF is looking more ridiculous every day. As in most American-based sports…the more you try to compete evenly on the same level as the Top-tier run Orgs., the higher the probablility it will be you fail. Lets face it…the UFC is the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL of it’s sport. That might not hold water overseas too much, but it does here in the States. There have been many attempts at trying to compete evenly with these organizations, and they have all failed. Failed so much they’ve dissapeared. Bellator, while still small (possibly purposely), has got the proper angle. If Strikeforce continues to try and put “all-out” cards to combat UFC…they will lose (especially if on that card headlines putting Lashley up against a NON-Fighter)

  • Rece Rock says:

    Your preaching to the choir

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Why so much hate? If you guys are so angry about it don’t watch it. I don’t understand why you hate SF sooo much. It is like a group of popular girls at school bitching about a class mate. Yeah they made mistakes and are trying out strange ideas but it is to stay alive. You all expect them to act like the UFC but that is just not possible. They would cease to exist very quickly with the same biz model. I like the idea of co-promotion and that sort of thing anyway. At least they are trying.
    I maybe wrong but if the past tells me anything, it is that if a UFC rival does something, some of you will rip that company to shreds but if the UFC does something similar the very same people will defend it for all they are worth. There are a couple of those people on this thread right now I think.
    “Boo hoo Batista is fighting in MMA”
    Well before you top yourself do what I’m planning on doing and change the channel. Don’t get so upset about this. There are worse things happening in the MMA world than this.
    Have him fight Kimbo Slice and then judge how bad this idea is.

  • Dufresne says:

    Looking back on it, I guess one of the reasons SF has managed to irritate me so much lately is because when they first came out they were like a symbol of hope in MMA. The only MMA promotion besides the UFC at the time was EliteXC, and they just had a way of turning what looked like a goldmine into a landfill. EliteXC would throw out these ridiculous promotions and hype guys like Kimbo as a world beater, then build their reputations by feeding them a list of trainwreck fighters to make them look like they knew what they were talking about. The events were put on with much of the same air as they used to do the WWF in the 1990’s and it just seemed like a low grade circus had rolled in with more money invested in the pyrotechnic and lighting department than in the rest of the company.

    Then SF came along slowly signing solid talents and putting a few quality MMA bouts on their kickboxing cards and they seemed like they were content to stay small fries as long as that meant putting on the best show they could and it was like a fresh breeze came through. As people started realizing that EliteXC was one average MMA fighter away from bankrupt (thanks Seth), SF seemed happy to just sail along doing their thing and doing it well.

    But, for me at least, once they signed a deal with CBS SF has just started doing inexplicable things. I’m all about making the money, and I absolutely love that MMA has made it to network TV through two separate promotions now, but it really seems like the moment they signed the dotted line their business model got radically changed. Since then the number of odd signings and bizarre matchmaking has increased dramatically. Maybe they had to in order to keep their CBS overlords happy, I don’t know.

    It’s just frustrating to see something that looked so good, and that appeared determined to do things right no matter how long it took, make decisions like this.

  • Rece Rock says:

    @mmalogic
    Announcing a tourney before actually reviewing the states sanctioning bodies rules regarding the type of tourney they wanted to have, which then results in calling off the tourney is not a good example of trying to stay alive…SF fails time and time again to simply do their homework and not get ahead of themselves.
    It’s not hate it’s a build up of frustration and disappointment.

  • moosebaby02 says:

    and dont forget about croker actually think about given fedor a title shot before werdum

  • cocoonofhorror says:

    “Cocoonofhorror…can I just end this? The fact that you went out of your way to notify us all that the author made a very minor mistake is what is so fuckin’ annoying”

    actually what is annoying is that you caught ONE mistake and think you know what i’m talking about.

    there were no less than 7 typos or simple errors in this article when i posted that. learn to read, idiot.

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