King Mo is the former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion (Photo by Dave Mandel, Sherdog.com).
Lawal Will Also Tap into Pro Wrestling via TNA’s Impact Wrestling
Sometimes it’s just nice to feel the love. King Mo Lawal (10-1-1) told host Ariel Helwani just that on Monday while being interviewed on the MMA Hour, saying that the heavy pursuit of his services by both Bellator Fighting Championships and TNA Wrestling is what led to the decision to ink a deal with the two entities that co-exist as the top sports properties of Spike TV.
“King Mo is an incredible athlete and a great addition to the Bellator family,” Bellator CEO & Chairman Bjorn Rebney stated. “He immediately adds prominence and star-power to our light heavyweight division.”
Lawal will begin his professional wrestling career this summer with TNA and officially join Bellator next year when the promotion launches its next light heavyweight tournament. That will also coincide with the move of Bellator from MTV2 to Spike TV.
“King Mo is the perfect athlete for this type of alliance,” said Dixie Carter, President of TNA Entertainment. “He is the real deal in MMA, and his bold personality and world class wrestling accomplishments are unparalleled. I’m confident he will have a major impact in both sports.”
A former NCAA-All American wrestler at the University of Central Oklahoma, Lawal was a three-time U.S. National Champion who helped the U.S. National Team win Gold in the 2007 Pan American Games and a Silver Medal in that year’s World Cup.
“This deal is a dream come true for me,” Lawal remarked. “Bjorn and Dixie have given me the opportunity to engage in my two great loves, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling, at the same time. And, to have it all on Spike TV is really Buttercream icing on a big ole cake. Not that whipped cream stuff either!”
Lawal fought his professional MMA match in Japan at Sengoku 5 in 2008, stopping Travis Wiuff in the first round due to punches. He won three more bouts under the Japanese promotion before landing a fight opposite Mike Kerr in 2009 under the M-1 banner, knocking him out in just 25 seconds. He then moved onto Strikeforce and claimed victories over Mike Whitehead and then Gegard Mousasi to claim the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship. In his next outing, he lost the belt after being stopped in the third round by Rafael Cavalcante due to punches and elbows. He then rebounded with victories over Roger Gracie and Lorenz Larkin, but the Tennessee native had the Larkin win later ruled a no contest when he tested positive for Drostanolone.
Things then continued to turn for the worse regarding Lawal, as he was released by Strikeforce for comments he made about NSAC Commissioner Pat Lundvall and then developed what turned out to be a life threatening staph infection.
However, with the new contract he signed to compete in both Bellator and TNA Wrestling, Lawal was once again his normal energetic self when speaking to Helwani on Monday, also reiterating how the latest developments were truly two dreams becoming reality for him.