MMA fighting styles

Bobby Lashley explains why he never signed with the UFC

During his recent appearance on MMA hour along with Ariel Helwani, WWE Champion Bobby Lashley explained why he decided to retire from MMA despite winning fights for major promotions like Bellator and Strikeforce.

“I think because when I went into it, I went into it with the wrong mindset,” Lashley said. “When I got to the fight, I walked in saying I wanted to do a fight. Then I won a fight, then another fight, then another fight, and then all these things started happening to me. The hardest thing with me with the fights is that I had all these fights, I think I had 18, 19 fights, something like that, there were some that were kind of like smaller fights that haven’t really been on my Sherdog record, but I’ve never had a real training camp. I never had a training camp.

“It was one thing when I was like, ‘Man, can we run for the title? I want to race for the title. I’m a single dad, so I had my kids, and what I literally did was I had to run to [train with Josh] Barnett. I worked with Barnett, raced to American Top Team and would have been there for a week. And then I had to run home and I was with my kids and then I would run back and fight a little bit in a couple of days here or there and Josh would come meet me and he do a little bit with me. So my camps were so broken up and as a fighter once you start leveling up you really have to have a game plan. You really have to have a team, you really have to have everything together. »

Lashley then revealed how envious he was of Brock Lesnar for building a gym next to his house and bringing people in to train with him. Lashly, on the other hand, lived in Denver during his fighting days and didn’t have a full-time gym he called home. This was another reason Lashley felt it was time to retire from MMA.

“I built an American Top Team in Denver and I thought, maybe I can bring people in,” recalls Bobby Lashley. “But now it’s a lot of expenses I was taking on and now I run a gym. Now I’m selling my cardio kickboxing class and trying to push my crossfit classes and I was like okay, it takes me even further away from what I’m trying to accomplish.

“I was like, if I want to do this thing full time, get into the UFC and have a run or stay with Bellator and run for this title, I have to put everything together and it was tough. I couldn’t find any way to do it and I didn’t want to deprive my kids of time, so I was in a bit of a sticky situation.

Lashley still wonders what would have happened if he had moved permanently to San Jose to train with Cain Velasquez and Daniel Cormier at the American Kickboxing Academy, or to Florida to work with Dan’s American Top Team. Lambert.

In 2016, Bellator allowed Lashley to pursue professional wrestling bookings as well, a partnership that led to his eventual return to WWE. This contractual flexibility wouldn’t have been possible in the UFC, and Lashley pointed out that was the main reason he never marched to a UFC octagon.

“I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I know that Dan [Lambert] had spoken with Dana at one point and Dana, he was just with that, he said, ‘You know we can’t offer him a huge contract, but we’ll give him something that he can put his foot in. carries and kind of prove himself,” Lashley said. “That’s all I knew and then when I talked to Dan about it – Dan is a big pro wrestling fan – Dan was like, ‘They want you to sign everything. There’s no more pro wrestling Are you ready to close the doors of pro wrestling? I was like, ‘Golly.’ You can’t offer me a contract and say, ‘Yes, we’re bringing him in, but he has to stop all this and make some money.’ Because wrestling is something that I knew I could really make a lot of money in the long run so I couldn’t take a little contract to prove myself where I had pro wrestling where I had done before my evidence and it was still my bag of money that I could always go back to. So I really couldn’t do it.

“It was all up in the air for me with Coker and I wish I could have done that with Dana, but I understand you can’t do that in the UFC,” Lashley added. “He won’t let anyone have that kind of part-time contract, do whatever you want and that’s what I needed and that’s what he wasn’t willing to give.”

Bobby Lashley last fought in 2016, ending his MMA career with a 15-2 record that includes a flawless 5-0 record inside the Bellator cage. Lashley will defend his WWE title against Brock Lesnar, Seth Rollins, Austin Theory, AJ Styles and Riddle inside the Elimination Chamber facility on February 19.

H/T to MMA Fighting for the transcript

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