Boy, what a whirlwind few months it’s been for the once and future Ryback. The wrestler parted ways with WWE earlier this summer, quite some time before his contract came to an official end. Since then, he’s been everywhere. He’s been hosting a regular Periscope show, taking independent dates, changing his ring name to The Big Guy and then literally changing his legal name to Ryback. And now … he’s thinking about lacing them up and going into MMA.
According to both Dave Meltzer and Jeremy Botter, Ryback is in the early stages of negotiating with Bellator, the second-largest MMA promotion in North America. And Meltzer over at MMA Fighting got confirmation from Bellator’s CEO, which is probably a good person to be able to confirm those sorts of things.
“Spoke, but nothing close,” said Bellator CEO Scott Coker[.]
Well, there you have it! Ryback was billed at around 290 for most of his wrestling career, so if he can cut to 265, he’ll definitely be fighting in the heavyweight division. I’ve heard even less about Ryback being into MMA than I heard about CM Punk being into BJJ during their respective wrestling careers, so I’m sure his fighting debut will go loads better than Punk’s.
This news of Ryback going into fighting is one of the richest ironies (hopefully I’m using that in the correct sense and not in the Alanis Morissette sense) you can think of. Ryback and Punk have a rich and storied real-life animosity toward each other that goes back to before Punk left WWE. Surprisingly, Ryback had some positive and supportive comments for Punk after UFC 203:
From a basic human being standpoint, he is showing courage doing something the majority of people on this planet will never do and that is step in a cage and fight in front of millions of people. I respect he wants to test himself and has the courage to do so. For that reason alone, while I don’t condone him saying the things he said about me, I want to him do well. Any man can beat another man on any given night, so I just hope he achieves what he is looking for in this and I will leave it at that.
Did … did CM Punk inspire Ryback to go into MMA? WHAT WORLD ARE WE LIVING IN.
We hope the Big Guy is able to similarly follow his dreams and make it to that big ol’ cagefight he’s hoping for. Let’s just hope his training camp ignores his insistence on waking up for feeding time before his weigh-in days.