While Dave Bautista is best known for his time as Batista in WWE and, more recently, a top star in Hollywood, he also made a brief foray into the world of MMA back in 2012.
After his first departure from WWE in 2010, the star trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, rising to the rank of purple belt. After a contract negotiation with Strikeforce fell through in 2011, he finally had his first fight for CES MMA in October 2012.
At the promotion’s ‘Real Pain’ show in Providence, Rhode Island, The Animal defeated Vince Lucero by technical knockout in the first round.
One of the people who helped train Bautista ahead of the fight was former WWE star Davey Boy Smith Jr. In an interview with Fightful, Smith recalled that the fight took place while he was on his way to an NJPW show.
“I helped Dave train for his MMA debut. It’s funny, just a coincidence, he was running his debut and his first fight I was flying to New Japan for my return trip.
“We were on the plane and while the flight was happening, Low-Ki and I were on the same flight and we had to wait until we landed to check the results.
Smith went on to say that he had a lot of fun in the fight camp and praised Bautista.
“We saw Dave won, which was great. It was a fun fight camp. Myself, Dave, God rest his soul, Stephan Bonnar —yeah, that’s really too bad— Eric Albarracin, Justin McCully. It was a lot of fun. Glad to be a part of that as well.
“Dave’s always been a great guy and the type of person that’d give you the shirt off his back. Very giving and nice guy and great training partner.”
Dave Bautista wants to enter WWE Hall of Fame in 2023
Bautista was originally announced to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020, but the ceremony was not able to take place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then, When the class of 2020 was set to be inducted in a double ceremony alongside the class of 2021 during the weekend of WrestleMania 37, he was unavailable for the ceremony.
However, 2023 might be the year Bautista is finally inducted, with the star telling ComicBook.com that he is “trying” to make it this year.
“I hope so, but I can’t say for sure. I can say that I’m trying. I am trying.”
H/T to Fightful for the above transcription.