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Can Bobby Lashley recover from Strikeforce:Houston?

Bobby LashleyThe funny thing about MMA mismatches is that they don’t always go as planned. Bobby Lashley’s MMA career came to a hault Saturday after picking one mismatch too many. Chad Griggs never got the memo and handed Bobby Lashley his first MMA loss at Strikeforce: Houston.

After the announcement of Bobby Lashley vs. Chad Griggs, I let loose on a scathing blog here on the website. Bobby Lashley hasn’t fought a quality opponent in his entire two and a half year MMA career. After a few interviews where he talked about wanting to fight competition, specifically Brock Lesnar and some guy named Fedor, Lashley signed to fight Chad Griggs. Griggs had not fought since the spring of 2009 and didn’t even have a picture on his own Wikipedia page. Here we go again with the Bobby Lashley circus.

Well something happened at Strikeforce: Houston. Chad Griggs fought back. Unlike other Lashley opponents who mysteriously all froze when taken down, Griggs continued to fight. Lashley dominated the early portion of the fight but seemed to tire quickly. Griggs never went away, caught a tired Lashley and the fight was stopped at the end of the second round. The bloom is off the rose and Bobby Lashley has officially been exposed as an MMA fraud.

Why is Bobby Lashley an MMA fraud? Lashley is a decorated collegiate wrestler who left millions of dollars in pro wrestling money to follow his dream of MMA, following in the footsteps of UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar. I applaud Lashley for that. However, Lashley has taken a much different road than Brock Lesnar in MMA. While Lesnar immediately jumped into MMA and called for the best competition, Lashley has instead opted to cherry pick weak opponents, garner a big contract, and continue to call out opponents on interviews that he obviously has no interest in fighting.

This was fine for the first year of Bobby Lashley’s career. Hey, why shouldn’t he have the option to work his way up from the bottom if he wishes to do so? But at some point you have to either jump or get off of the diving board. It got so bad that the Florida state athletic commission almost considered not sanctioning Lashley’s fight against Jimmy Ambriz because it seemed to one-sided. Bobby Lashley was a guy that loved the idea of being an MMA fighter but never quite stepped up the plate in my opinion in terms of being a professional MMA fighter. He could pull the wool over the eyes of his former wrestling fans, but MMA critics were starting to get a little tired of the fraud.

I almost laughed myself into a heart attack when Strikeforce announcer Maurillo Ranallo mentioned on the Strikeforce: Houston broadcast that Lashley’s win over Wes Sims somehow quieted these critics. I understand Maurillo Ranallo isn’t there to bury the fighters, but how he said this with a straight face is beyond comprehension. Wes Sims took the fight on short notice, came into the fight completely out of shape, and if his post-TUF 10 MMA career is any indication, isn’t exactly working on a comeback. Let’s be honest Maurillo, that fight was a joke as has been the majority of Bobby Lashley’s MMA career.

Something else really raised my eye brows that the Strikeforce announcers said during the broadcast. One of them mentioned that Bobby Lashley was eyeing a Strikeforce heavyweight title shot at the end of 2011. End of 2011? What MMA fighter have you ever heard talk about wanting to fight for the title…in a year and a half? I can understand Lashley saying something like that in his first year in MMA, but he is now 2 1/2 years into his MMA career. Those are some high aspirations Bobby. Saturday’s loss puts him right on schedule for a 2011 title run, but then again in Strikeforce he could get a title shot next week.

What really brought this full circle was when Bobby Lashley signed with TNA Wrestling. Lashley no longer appears on TNA Wrestling, but appeared in TNA from April – January. For an MMA fighter already has a pro wrestling stigma coming into MMA, I can’t imagine that wrestling for TNA part-time would be a smart move for a guy still learning MMA. On top of that, what championship MMA fighter has the time or even desire to be a pro wrestler in 2010? I don’t begrudge anyone making a living, but it just seemed a bit odd that a guy new to MMA who needs to get better would sacrifice any free time being a pro wrestler.

What I find really interesting about the loss to Chad Griggs is that nobody is pointing out the yellow elephant in the room. From the broadcast that I watched, a blown up Bobby Lashley quit. Now the official word is that the fight was stopped. The fight was stopped because Lashley was asked to continue and he didn’t answer. You can call it what you want, but it looked like Lashley quit to me. While quitting is really no different than tapping, this wasn’t a case where Lashley was on the verge of having his arm or leg broken. Lashley was blown up, receiving punishment for the first time in his 2 ½ year MMA career, and quit. To me, that is much different than a tap in a competitive MMA fight.

MMA writer Dave Meltzer reported on his podcast on F4Wonline.com that Bobby Lashley’s blood came up dirty in the hospital after the fight. He had no specifics on exactly what the issue was, yet I tend to believe that more on that will come out shortly. There have been rumors about Bobby Lashley’s physique for years, yet to his credit he has never failed an MMA blood test. He did have an issue in the WWE with elevated liver enzymes, but no details were ever given. Something like that could be devastating to the future of Bobby Lashley, although UFC fighter Shane Carwin was recently named in a steroid investigation and seems to have avoided any immediate repercussion.

The Bobby Lashley hype is over. This isn’t Fedor Emelianenko losing his first fight in 30 fights. This is a guy who was hyped to Brock Lesnar levels who has finally been exposed to the masses as being a fraud. Rumors of a possible Bobby Lashley vs. Batista MMA fight are an absolute joke. Yet looking at Bobby Lashley’s fight choices I would be surprised if that wasn’t his next fight. I can almost guarantee you the one fight we won’t be hearing about is a Chad Griggs rematch.

So really you have to ask yourself what Bobby Lashley is even doing in MMA? He could make a lot more money as a pro wrestler, but would have to work a lot more. He doesn’t seem too interested in being tested by top competition, and quit the first time he found himself vulnerable. Lashley’s worth has taken a big hit, so you have to ask yourself why Scott Coker would continue to pay big money for a guy less talented than Kimbo Slice? If Bobby Lashley wants to be a serious MMA fighter, he needs to step up and fight like one. While one loss isn’t the end of an MMA career, Bobby Lashley’s next step could be the most important of his MMA future. Who he chooses to fight next will tell you everything you need to know about the heart and soul of Bobby Lashley.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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