- Jake Rossen, MMA
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Is Dave Bautista seriously weighing a serious ring career? Good luck with that, Strikeforce.
Here's a curious thing (and amusing if you don't require amusing things to actually make you laugh): As the popularity of MMA in Japan winds down, thanks to a lack of mainstream celebrity booking, the practice of appealing to casual viewers with familiar faces is becoming more of a presence in the States.
On Monday, former WWE champion Dave Bautista (he drops the "u" for wrestling, apparently) told MMAJunkie.com that he is still in negotiations for a deal with Strikeforce in 2011. The obvious match is against Bobby Lashley, himself a pro wrestler. Some simple math would put the fight at over 500 pounds of lean body mass, with less than 8 percent body fat, which means they should be good for a furious three minutes of action. Doesn't matter: They're ready-made attractions, particularly if Strikeforce can ever re-establish a time slot on CBS.
The question is whether the sport really needs the kind of one-and-done appeal of someone like Batista, who seems open to three fights at most. Strikeforce will draw fans for a night or two, but what's the plan when the guy realizes the grind of fighting isn't a good fit for a 41-year-old with a lifetime of wrestling afflictions? K-1 and Pride both drew huge numbers for bouts with celebrated sumo attractions, an actor and athletes whose myostatin wasn't working properly -- but when it was over, the fans who showed up for the sideshows didn't stay for the other attractions. Batista-Lashley is a fine diversion, but it's not a long-term solution.
20hAndrew R. Davis for ESPN Stats & Information
24dAndrew R. Davis