Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Page 2 [Print without images]

Friday, October 15, 2010
Dave Bautista talks about MMA, leaving WWE


Dave Bautista can't go too far down the street without someone asking him what he's been doing since leaving WWE earlier this year.

"I just tell them I'm unemployed," he laughs. "They look at me kind of funny."

Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a film role with Russell Crowe in the works and a probable MMA debut with Strikeforce. That could happen in late March-early April, and the fight everyone wants is Bautista (spelled Batista during his WWE days) against fellow former WWEer Bobby Lashley.

The 41-year-old Bautista knows his window for MMA success is short, but he's used to it. He didn't debut in pro wrestling until he was 30, but found fame and fortune as part of the Evolution stable alongside "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, Triple H and Randy Orton.

And even though he's left WWE, he says he's still good friends with chairman Vince McMahon.

"I didn't agree with the direction the company was going in," Bautista said, even though he admits the squared circle pays a whole lot more than the cage. "It was geared more toward the PG rating. I fell in love with wrestling again in the late '90s with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and 'The Rock' Dwayne Johnson … It was edgy, and that was the kind of wrestling I knew and loved. It wasn't like that anymore, and my passion for it died a little bit."