Like many MMA fans out there, we are of two minds when it comes to Dave Bautista. On one hand, we should be applauding the former WWE star for having the cojones to step into the cage and give a sport as laborious and intense as MMA a try despite both his age and experience level saying that he should do just the opposite. On the other hand, he represents little more than another splash in the recent wave of professional wrestlers looking to exploit a sport they have little experience in and little desire to actually further.
More often than not, guys like Bautista, Bobby Lashley, and Brock Lesnar to a degree (TO A DEGREE) are not professional fighters in the purest sense of the word; they are opportunists who crossover to MMA looking to make a decent buck and get out before they hurt themselves too badly. For if they were seriously seeking a new career path, they would logically test themselves on the amateur circuit before diving head first into a sport in which ill preparation can lead to serious health issues in both the immediate and distant future. Although their participation in MMA in turn draws legions of new fans to the sport, it also cheapens the value of what it means to call oneself “a professional fighter.” Not to get on our soapbox here, but that is a title that should be earned through hard work and dedication, not a few months of sparring and pure name value.
So when it was announced that Bautista would be debuting against a guy who was clearly picked because his name resembled a certain former UFC champion, the world reacted with a collective “ugh.” But if you think that’s bad , just wait until you hear the story that led to Bautista’s new opponent, the 22-22 Vince Lucero you were introduced to in the above video.
According to MMAFighting, it was revealed that Evans had not been training for Bautista in the weeks prior to the bout — unless you consider fending off knife fights in the yard and gang rape in the shower “training” – because he was in jail while the fight was being promoted. So clearly, we’re looking at a fighter and a promotion primarily focused on achieving MMA legitimacy here people. After Evans was temporarily released from his stay, it seemed as if things were back on schedule. But unfortunately for “The Animal” (as well as Evans), it turns out that when you hand pick an opponent based on their complete lack of anything resembling competence, it could end up biting you in the ass. Evans was pulled over just a few days after his release and promptly thrown back in the hoosegow for driving without a valid license and therefore violating his parole. And so the great superfight of 2012 was off.
The promotion that we have the decency not to name then decided to pair Bautista against Bruno McKee, who, like Bautista and Evans, had zero professional experience. Unfortunately, McKee would also drop out, claiming that he did not have enough time to prepare for whatever skill set Bautista apparently brings to the table (Author’s note: there seems to be a lot of that going around lately).
When the promotion was made aware that Chael Sonnen would not in fact be stepping in to fight Bautista, who Sonnen described as “a freakish, musclebound dolt who hasn’t earned the right to peruse my hamper of dirty gym shorts*,” they once again found themselves in panic mode, which is how they came upon the 40 year old Lucero to fill in on just five days notice.
And once again, we are of two minds when it comes to Bautista. On one hand, at least he’s willing to fight an incredibly experienced IFL and Bellator veteran for his professional debut. On the other, he is fighting a man whose most notable win came over Josh Haynes back in 2004 and who is 2-9-1 in his last twelve. BUT HE’S WON HIS LAST TWO, YOU GUYS.
Who are we kidding, this is going to be a shitshow.
OK, that may have been the most pathetic ending to a fight we have ever witnessed. At least this time it wasn’t Lucero’s fault, we guess.
This sure-to-be FOTY goes down on October 6th from the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. To find out how to purchase tickets, first pick up a phone, dial 911, and then beat yourself over the head with that phone until the ambulance arrives.
*Chael Sonnen has never made such a statement, but we imagine he’d say something incredibly similar if given the opportunity.