Some news that has seemingly snuck up on fights fans courtesy of The Wrestling Observer (via Bloody Elbow). Professional wrestler turned aspiring mixed martial artist Bobby Lashley's contract with Strikeforce has expired. The heavyweight is now in an exclusive negotiating period with Strikeforce.
Dave Meltzer with more details:
Bobby Lashley's contract has expired. Right now he's in the exclusive negotiating period, meaning he can't talk to anyone else in MMA, although his Strikeforce deal does allow him to do pro wrestling and he always expressed interest in going back. After the exclusive period ends, he can talk with other groups but Strikeforce would have the option to match any offers, although my understanding is Strikeforce hasn't expressed real interest in him after his loss to Chad Griggs. There has been no talk about Batista coming in of late and that fight only makes sense on CBS or PPV because of Batista's asking price. This is hardly the best time for him to be a free agent when his stock would be at a low point coming off his loss.
Lashley is of course coming off an ugly loss to Chad Griggs at Strikeforce: "Houston," not exactly an ideal position to be in when trying to negotiate a new contract.
Off to a quick 5-0 start to his MMA career, there was early hope that Bobby would improve his skill set much in the same way that current UFC heavyweight champion and former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar did. Those thoughts quickly evaporated and turned into dreams as Lashley, though he was winning, left a lot to be desired in his performances.
As for Lashley's future in the fight game, there do not seem to be many options. You can likely rule out the UFC. Strikeforce will almost assuredly be asking for Bobby to lower his asking price and will do so with a decent amount of leverage, something that "The Dominator" might not be too keen on.
Bellator may come into play as they continue to build their brand. They did pay an awful lot for Roger Huerta's services, and a heavyweight that draws could be of interest to Bjorn Rebney and company.
One thing is for sure however, if Lashley is serious about continuing his career in MMA, his next fight for whatever promotion and against whomever, better show fans a marked improvement if he expects to garner any interest going forward.
Thoughts on Lashley's future? Have we seen the last of him inside a cage?