Although Bobby Lashley has since downplayed his WWE release, claiming it was an amicable and mutual departure, a little digging suggests the MMA fighter left the wrestling business due to ill treatment near a time that lead writer Michael Hayes was exposed for racially clumsy comments.
In an archive of his Myspace page immediately after his departure in January 2008, Lashley wrote:
“Circumstances which are out of my control left me no decision but to leave the WWE. I can’t go into details of this now but like I said before sometimes people will hate you personally and try to destroy you which has happened here. Evil has prevailed however like I said before if you continue your struggle doors will open around these people.”
WWE only acknowledged Lashley’s release on February 4, 2008.
At the time of his release the former ECW Champion was recovering from injury. A couple of months earlier while still rehabilitating the injury his girlfriend Kristal Marshall was released from her Diva contract. Some sources at the time suggested she refused to do a sexually charged storyline and was let go for being uncooperative and labeled as having a “bad attitude”.
In an interview with the Voice of Wrestling Radio show, Lashley said he had been cleared to wrestle for a while, but there was little interest from management. “Without speculation as to who that was, the person in charge at the time of writing me back into the show was Michael Hayes…he said he didn’t have anything for me…to make a long story short, or this is what we’re going to say, I decided not to come back because I was going to pursue other interests…I can tell you I personally don’t like the guy”.
Michael Hayes was only recently punished for making a racial slur in front of Mark Henry.
Former ECW head honcho Paul Heyman expanded on this issue in his TheSun.co.uk article where he claimed one unnamed writer would refer to Lashley as “Black Lesnar”, which although may have been in reference to his in-ring comparisons to Brock Lesnar, isn’t the best choice of words for a public traded company to use for a black wrestler.
Heyman explained that wrestling’s archaic creative team had once came up with a “modern day Sergeant Slaughter named ‘Army Sgt. Lashley’” and a “Mr T character screaming I Pity The Fool” for Lashley at one point.
….What this all suggests is that Lashley walked out on his contract due to friction between him and the creative team, which may have also involved racial tension.
The former WWE star currently has a 2-0 MMA record, with one by knockout. It is unlikely he’ll return to the WWE any time soon.