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Shane Del Rosario Talks Bobby Lashley, Upcoming Bout Against Ron Sparks

For the second time in a year, Shane Del Rosario has seen a potential fight against Bobby Lashley fall through the cracks. He was first offered a fight against the former WWE champion in January, but Lashley reportedly turned it down. For the record, Lashley still claims he never turned it down.

Then, Del Rosario was offered a fight against Lashley at Strikeforce: Los Angeles on June 16, but as he told MMA Fighting on Monday, Lashley turned down an opportunity to face him again.

Del Rosario, 9-0, also confirmed that he will be facing undefeated Ron Sparks on the Los Angeles card instead. Check out the interview below.

Ariel Helwani: Is it true Lashley turned down a fight against you for the June 16 show?
Shane Del Rosario: Unfortunately, he did. I only talk to the people at Strikeforce, so I don't know how far into the fight he was committed or if he never said he was going to do it. But our camp was thinking we were going to be fighting that fight, so I was excited. You know, it was going to be my first fight in front of my hometown crowd at Nokia Theatre, which is right by the Staples Center, so it was going to be a big fight for me. But, you know, I got another opponent now. I think his name is Ron Sparks. [He's] not as well-known, but still another important fight for me, so I will train hard and get ready to go June 16.

So you will still be on the June 16 show?
Yeah, we're still on the same card. I don't know if we're going to be in the same locker room or what, but it will be funny (laughs).

What would happen if you crossed paths in the locker room?
Nah, nothing would happen. It's cool. We're all professional. It's not like we don't like each other -- I don't even know the guy. But, you know, it was a fight we were all kind of looking forward to because it's time for me to step up onto a bigger stage, and even though he's not an experience fighter, he has a really big name and it would have catapulted me, I think, into more of the public eye.

Will this fight be on the televised portion of the card?
I'm hoping so, man. I've been waiting to fight since November. I would have rather fought on the Challengers Series had I known this guy was going to pull out. I hope I don't have to wait this whole time and be on the undercard with no TV time, because right now, I don't make a lot of money. I'm just starting out. So a lot of my money comes from my sponsors and stuff like that. I kind of need as much as I can get right now so I can just train and not worry about having another job.

Why do you think this fight keep falling through?
I don't know. Strikeforce keeps asking me if we would be down to do it, and I always says I'm down to do it whenever, just let us know. I don't know if it's he who didn't want to do it or what the circumstances are ... I don't know. I'm ready to fight. You know, we've been training and are ready to fight. So that is all I can say about it right now. But, you know, I can see it from his point of view or his camp's perspective: I'm 9-0 and he's 5-0. You know, he's just starting out and I think it's important to pick your fights when you're just coming up. There's no sense to dive in and fight the toughest guys because you need that experience. Even if you're a really talented fighter, experience is a lot.

What do you make of him publicly stating he would fight Fedor Emelianenko or Alistair Overeem, yet he turns down a fight against you?
I don't know. I mean, that's his career, it's not mine, so it's not really something I need to worry about. But I'm not going to say I'm not going to fight somebody else. But it's not something I'm worried about. I'm just worried about my camp and my training. If we have that fight someday, that would be great. If not, we'll move on and do our thing.

We've seen some guys recently do a good job of talking their way into a fight. Would you ever consider doing that?
I could see how that works, but for me, that's not me. I'm just more of a person who likes to get out there and fight. I think the fight will happen, though. I think Strikeforce wants it to happen. So I'm going to do my thing, get my fights. I'm not really in the position right now where I want to call people out. I just want to work on myself, train and get that experience, and when the time comes, I'm ready to fight the best.

What do you know about Sparks?
I know he's a big guy, like, 6"4, something like 285 [pounds]. He's also 5-0. I believe he has a wrestling background. Only fight I've seen so far is when he fought [Alexey] Ignashov in K-1, and he got head kicked and knocked out. I just learned about fighting him two days ago, so we're going to research him. But I think it will be a similar game plan because I was expecting to fight Lashley, so I have been wrestling my a** off and just doing a lot of ground jiu-jitsu. I think it will be the same preparation, so I'm cool with that. Just getting ready to go to finally fight after eight months.

Have you signed the contract yet?
No, I should be getting it in the next couple of days (laughs). Hopefully nothing else happens.

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