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Dave Bautista Says Strikeforce Deal Is Close, Hopes to Debut in March

The long-rumored deal between former professional wrestler Dave Bautista and MMA promoter Strikeforce appears to be moving closer to completion.

According to Bautista -- who went by "Batista" during his World Wrestling Entertainment days -- at least one key point has been agreed upon, and while there are still other details needed to be worked out, he hopes to debut in the early spring of 2011.

"We're real close. We actually agreed on a number last week and we're sorting stuff out," Bautista told DC 101 in a Monday morning radio interview. "We should have a deal real soon. Hopefully I'll be fighting in March."

In a short interview, Bautista explained that he had trained in the Filipino martial art Kali for some time before eventually trying out Muay Thai and the ground game. After several issues with the WWE caused him to walk away from the company, the 41-year-old said MMA became a logical move.

"The grind of professional wrestling, there is nothing is more brutal," he said. "I told my mom I wanted to get into fighting. She was scared to death. I said, 'Mom, the last few years I was an inch away from breaking my neck every night and now you're worried abut me being punched in the face?'"

Bautista said he and Strikeforce had talked about him possibly making his debut in Washington DC. The promotion has yet to run an event in the northeast United States.

A company spokesperson did not immediately return a message for comment on Bautista's future in the organization, though CEO Scott Coker has publicly voiced an interest in Bautista and the two privately met during the recent Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons event in San Jose, California.

[Update: A Strikeforce spokesperson later confirmed that there has been ongoing dialogue between sides but that Bautista remains unsigned.]

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