Lashley parted ways with WWE on February 4, 2008 after being asked to be released from his contract and now competes as a mixed martial arts fighter while occasionally wrestling at independent events. Regarding the nature of his departure from Vince McMahon's organization, it was widely rumored that Lashley had had problems with the head writer of SmackDown at the time, Michael Hayes. Lashley's former girlfriend, Kristal Marshall, alleged in a 2009 interview that Hayes, who was suspended from WWE in 2008 after reportedly using a racial slur to Mark Henry, had said several blatantly racist remarks to Lashley, and that this was the main reason he decided to bolt from the company.
-- This week's edition of The JBL & Cole Show is now online and features Rob Van Dam. The synopsis reads, "In this edition of The JBL & Cole Show, RVD blesses us with some narration skills, Cole & Renee continue their tour of the WWE Performance Center, William Regal joins the cleaning crew, and JBL FINALLY makes it to Orlando on time....maybe."