David Michael Bautista Jr. was born on January 18, 1969, in Arlington, VA, the son of Donna Raye (née Mullins) and David Michael Bautista, a hairdresser in the D. C. area. His mother has Greek ancestry, while his father is the son of Filipino immigrants. His parents divorced, and he later called himself "the proud son of a lesbian". His paternal grandfather served in the Filipino military, worked as a taxi driver and barber, and held other jobs to feed the family. Bautista has said that he lived in poverty, and that he had a hard life—before he reached the age of nine, three murders had occurred on his front lawn. As young as age 13, he was stealing cars. By age 17, Bautista was estranged from his parents and lived on his own. He later admitted, "I am proud of my parents. They are good, honest, hard-working folks. They taught me the values of working hard. " He was a nightclub bouncer until he was arrested after a fight that left two patrons injured, one of whom was rendered unconscious. After a trial, he was sentenced to one year of probation. He also worked as a lifeguard before pursuing a career in bodybuilding, crediting the latter with saving his life.