After being released from the WWE, Batista attended Strikeforce: Los Angeles on 16 June 2010, having previously registered an interest in competing in Mixed martial arts. On 21 June 2010, Batista announced to TMZ.com that he would be embarking on a MMA career. Batista had announced that he and Strikeforce had agreed on a price and were negotiating a contract. However in April 2011, Batista announced to TMZ.com that negotiating a contract with Strikeforce fell through when Strikeforce was bought by Zuffa, LLC. Batista was expected to make his MMA debut against Rashid Evans on October 6, 2012 at Classic Entertainment and Sports: Real Pain in Providence, Rhode Island.
However, on October 1, 2012, it was announced that Evans was forced out of the bout after a probation violation landed him back in jail. With Batista's MMA debut still on for the event, Evans was replaced by journeyman and 40 fight veteran Vince Lucero. Batista would go on to win the fight by TKO at 4:05 in the first round.
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Former WWE star Dave "Batista" Bautista didn't get into MMA to prove anything to fans. He simply wanted to prove something to himself – that despite being 43 years old, he could still do it. But to do that, he needed to prove something to his training partners. That got all the harder when one of them, Stephan Bonnar, got booked to meet perhaps the greatest MMA fighter in history. Bonnar was one of Bautista's training partners at Gracie Tampa ahead of his pro debut, which took place Saturday. Facing 46-fight veteran super heavyweight Vince Lucero (22-23-1), Bautista (1-0) survived an early flurry of punches before posting a first-round TKO victory.
The bout headlined the "CES MMA: Real Pain" pay-per-view event at Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, R.I. Bautista went through an eight-week camp for the fight. It got a bit tougher a few weeks ago when Bonnar learned he'd be coming out of semi-retirement to fight MMA's pound-for-pound kingpin, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, at this coming weekend's UFC 153 event in Brazil.
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