WWE Champion Bobby Lashley has reflected on his MMA career and reveals why he ultimately decided against signing a deal with the UFC.
After Lashley left WWE the first time around in 2008, he embarked on a successful mixed martial arts career that ultimately led him to fight for Bellator. With an MMA career record of 15 wins and 2 losses, Bobby Lashley could have taken his talents to the biggest player in town – the Ultimate Fighting Championship but never did.
Speaking on The MMA Hour Bobby Lashley explained why he never entered the octagon in the UFC, unlike the man he defeated for the WWE Title at the Royal Rumble, Brock Lesnar, but began by explaining how his mindset when he became a fighter was all wrong:
“I think because when I came into it, I came into it with the wrong mind frame. When I originally came into fighting, I came into it saying I want to do one fight. Then I won one fight, then another fight, and then another fight, and then all these things started getting thrown at me.”
“That was one thing when I was like, ‘Man, can we run for the title? I want to run for the title.’ I’m a single father, so I had my kids, and I what I was literally doing is I was having to run down to [train with Josh] Barnett. I did some work with Barnett, I was running down to American Top Team and I would be there for a week. And then I had to run home and I was with my kids and then I’d run back and I’d get a little bit of sparring in a couple of days here or there and Josh would come up and meet me and he’d do a little bit with me.”
“So my camps were just so broken and as a fighter, once you start moving up the levels, you really have to have a game plan. You’ve really got to have a team, you’ve really got to have everything together.”
Lashley added that his outside of the cage exploits were starting to take away from his goal of fighting at the highest level, and ultimately he didn’t want to spend more time away from his children:
“I built an American Top Team in Denver and I was like, maybe I can bring people in but now these are a lot of expenses that I was taking on and now I’m running a gym. Now I’m selling my cardio kickboxing class and trying to push my CrossFit courses and I was like alright, this is pulling me further away from what I’m trying to accomplish.”
“I was like if I want to do this thing full time, get in the UFC and make a run or stay with Bellator and run for that title, I’ve got to put it all together and it was challenging. I didn’t find a way that I could do it and I didn’t want to take any time away from my kids, so I was kind of in an awkward situation.”
Bobby Lashley spoke of his offer of a contract from UFC President Dana White that came courtesy of former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier. As Lashley explains, a deal with the UFC meant cutting off all his other earning opportunities including wrestling:
“Dan was like, ‘They want you to sign everything. There’s no more pro wrestling. Are you ready to shut the doors on pro wrestling?’ I was like, ‘Golly.’ You can’t offer me a contract and say, ‘Yeah we bring him in, but he needs to shut all of that down and get small money.’ Because wrestling is something that I knew that I could really make some good money on long term.”
“So I couldn’t take a small contract to prove myself where I had pro wrestling where I’d already proven myself and that was always my money bag that I could always go back to. So I really couldn’t do it.”
“I wish I could have done that with Dana, but I understand that you can’t do that in the UFC. He’s not gonna let anybody have that part-time, do-whatever-you-want kind of contract and that’s what I needed and that’s what he wasn’t willing to give.”