On July 15th, former WWE superstar turned MMA fighter Bobby Lashley announced that he had signed a deal to return to full time professional wrestling competition with the US #2 promotion TNA. Lashley’s last in-ring pro wrestling appearance came in Mexico on a show for Lucha Libre promotion AAA.
Reports suggest, however that hes not giving up his MMA career. In interviews prior to the TNA signing Lashley indicated that he was leaving the door open to return to pro wrestling for its significant financial upside, while remaining committed to his shoot fighting efforts. Lashley trains in Florida with the prestigious American Top Team, and ran his record to 4-0 with his victory over Sapp in late June. A press release issued by TNA this morning further validated his suggestions that he planned to do both sports. Lashey himself is quoted as saying:
I want to do both because I can. TNA is giving me the opportunity to compete in both sports which I have a passion for. I will bring MMA fans to wrestling and wrestling fans to MMA
TNA President Dixie Carter also praised Lashley in announcing the signing:
This is a great opportunity for Bobby to do something that has never been done before. He is the perfect ambassador for both sports. We are excited to have him join TNA, he is a true star that brings so much to the table as a member of our roster.
Despite TNAs claims that Lashley is the first active MMA fighter to compete full time in pro wrestling, that’s not the case. Its very common in Japan, where fighters frequently compete in shoot fights like MMA while simultaneously appearing in worked (eg: pre-determined) pro wrestling contests. Lashley isnt even the first to pull the feat in the US, though hes definitely the highest profile fighter/wrester to turn the trick since MMAs overwhelming boom in popularity. Dan The Beast Severn at one point simultaneously held the UFC heavyweight title and the NWA heavyweight title in pro wrestling.
Lashley left the WWE in early 2008 under some degree of mystery and a hint of controversy. He indicated at the time that his departure was not of his own volition but due to circumstances beyond his control. Making this assertion more curious was the fact that Lashley had been used in high profile storylines by the WWE and was very popular among fans. The plot thickened when it was reported that unlike most wrestlers leaving the promotion Lashley wasnt subject to a standard non-compete agreement. Speculation at this point suggested that he may have left in response to a racial incident, a theory given more validity when WWE writer (and former member of the Fabulous Freebirds tag team) Michael Hayes was suspended for a racial slur. Neither Lashley nor the WWE has ever confirmed the reason for his departure.
At the time he was released from the WWE, Lashley began training for MMA building on an extensive background of amateur wrestling from both college and the military. The UFC took a pass on Lashley due to the perception that they couldnt market him successfully so soon after Brock Lesnars debut.
Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and highly respected authority on sports betting Uk marriage visa odds comparison. He writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and Uk marriage visa sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Las Vegas with three Jack Russell Terriers and an emu. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.
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