TNA wrestling superstar and current blue chip MMA heavyweight prospect Bobby Lashley is in late-stage negotiations with Strikeforce on a multi-fight contract, according to sources close to the promotion.
FiveKnuckles.com has also learned that the undefeated former collegiate wrestling champion will likely take on Ron Waterman in his Strikeforce debut, though negotiations are still ongoing at this juncture.
Waterman and Lashley had been scheduled to lock horns at Prize Fight Promotions' third event in Denver, CO on Oct. 3, but the fight has since been postponed, likely due to current negotiations with Strikeforce, who is said to be close to securing the fight for an upcoming event.
Strikeforce would like to book the fight for its upcoming CBS debut on Nov. 7 in order to capitalize on Lashley's vast mainstream appeal, but negotiations have crawled away and may not be completed in time to accommodate the fast approaching event - in which case the fight would likely be pushed back to late December or January.
Lashely (4-0) is an intriguing high-level prospect who brings serious, Olympic-level wrestling credentials into the cage with him. An Olympic hopeful in 2002, he trained at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs until sustaining a serious knee injury while jumping out of the way of a bullet fired in a bank robbery. The injury essentially ended his Olympic dreams, and Lashley turned to the WWE shortly thereafter, eventually becoming a pro wrestling star.
Lashley has trained in MMA for a year and a half under the highly regarded American Top Team in Florida. He has also spent time training with the Greg Jackson affiliate camp T'sKO with UFC heavyweight contender Shane Carwin and TUF 10 favorite Brendan Schaub in Denver, CO where he currently resides. The athletic and mammoth 6'3" 265-pounder holds notable wins over Jason Guida and Bob Sapp.
Waterman (16-6-2) is a tough UFC and Pride veteran who is coming off of a win over Mark Smith last November. Coincidently, Waterman is also a former WWE wrestler who still spends time wrestling in Japan. He has won three of his past four MMA match-ups and holds notable victories over Ricco Rodriguez and Kevin Randleman.