Last week, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal sat down with BDSIR's Mike Knoxxx, "Chris Spotface" McClain and KME to speak on a plethora of topics including race in combat sports, music, basketball and more. The entire interview can be heard here.
Lawal is probably the biggest crossover athlete to ever sign with TNA (Monty Brown, included), and he believes that being in TNA will help them crossover to Urban America as well. While he knows TNA has a diverse audience, he believes that his Black and Latino MMA fans will follow him to TNA and make for a hot product. Will this happen? Only time will tell. King Mo, not one to be at a loss for words, spoke candidly on the reasons why he decided to go to Bellator over the UFC
Here's the thing man. Everyone saw what happened after my fight with Lorenz Larkins. I tested positive for this substance called Drostanalone. I never heard of it but it was in one of my self meds I was taking, and I had to go before the commission, which I did. And this woman asked me if I could read or speak English after about 20 minutes of speaking and reading to her, and so I went on Twitter and said, 'I thought she treated me like a racist b--ch,' because you don't go to anybody, especially a minority, and be like 'hey, can you read or speak English' to try and dig into them. You know what I'm saying? And I'm from the south, so you definitely don't do that. And Zuffa saw that they fired me for what I said.
Lewal then speaks about why he felt slighted by Dana White for White allegedly not knowing he was injured.
Then Dana pulled me out and he talked to me. I felt disrespected by Dana White because at the same time I was going through all that stuff I had a staph infection that almost killed me, almost took away my leg, and I was struggling and he was talking about he didn't know I was sick when everybody knew I was sick. That was the big news, and when he told me he didn't know I was sick I felt disrespected. Like either he was lying, or he was trying to play me. And he was like 'just hang in there and we will get you into UFC' blah blah. Well I was gonna do that until I thought about it. How in the hell am I one of the fighters under the Zuffa banner, and I'm damn near dying, and I had 20 surgeries to clear a staph infection, and I was supposed to die, and I lose my leg, and he didn't know about the whole incident but he knew I called a woman a b--ch?
Although Lawal has no desire to go to UFC, he states that he does not have a personal issues with White:
I don't have a problem with him but I felt he disrespected me, but the thing is that he plays character and it's a way to sell the organization.
Lewal made it clear that he was looking forward to his future in both Bellator and TNA Wrestling. While Lawal will be making his Bellator debut in January of 2013, he states that his TNA debut will happen before his debut in Bellator. When asked whether his debut in the squared circle will happen before or after his TNA debut Lewal responded:
Before my Bellator Debut. I just can't tell you when cause I am not sure when. I am picking up at OVW (TNA's developmental territory) pretty fast because I study wrestling.
Lawal has received advice from various pro wrestlers as well:
I talk to Kurt Angle a lot. I talk to MVP a lot on Twitter and I talk to Hurricane Helms. I used to talk to Bobby Lashley a lot. I knew him from wrestling, and we were cool but as he got bigger, it's harder to get a hold of him cause he travels a a lot. But Kurt Angle, MVP and Hurricane helped me out more than anything.
TNA is a brand that is clearly on the upswing. This time last year, fans were lamenting on how stale the product was, and how it showed no signs of upward mobility. They relied heavily on WWE stars that were past their prime, and had no real direction for their home grown talents. Now, we are seeing the emergence of stars like Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, James Storm and a host of others.
Lawal is a welcomed addition to TNA at a time when the company is clearly on the rise. He's not a past his prime former WWE wrestler looking for an extra five minutes in the spotlight. He is a former championship college wrestler and Strikeforce champion who is willing to help TNA grow into a viable second option that wrestling fans have been waiting for since the demise of World Championship Wrestling in 2001. Lawal believes in the TNA product as well:
First let me say that I watch WWE a little bit I watch TNA more, and as far as wrestling is concerned, you see better wrestling in TNA.
Clearly Lawal is on board with the TNA product, but the question is, can he devout his time to both TNA and MMA? Bobby Lashley tried it in the past and quickly found out that he would have to chose one over the other. Ultimately, Lashley decided that he would stick with MMA.
The difference between Lawal and Lashley, however, is that Lawal is already a proven MMA commodity whereas Lashley was wet behind the ears. Lashley also had a goal of eventually making it to the UFC. Lawal, has no desire of fighting for the UFC. Lawal states:
I'm happy with Bellator, man. You know what, I don't chase an organization. I ain't no groupie I'm a fighter, Bellator wanted me so of course I'm going to Bellator. They gave me a good deal where I can do pro wrestling as well, so I'm gonna take advantage of that. I'm not gonna be like 'Hey, I'm a UFC Fighter' where I'm getting 8+8 chump change.
With that said, Lawal sounds like he is not on a mission to prove anything in MMA beyond what he already has. Professional Wrestling is uncharted territory for Lawal. Already a fan of professional wrestling, Lawal's MMA persona as King Mo is a character that is custom made for wrestling. Like his MMA career, Lawal does not care if he is cheered or not in his wrestling career; in fact he would prefer to be booed. "As far as my Persona, I'd rather be a heel (in wrestling) because in MMA people look at me as a bad guy," says Lawal.
Ladies and Gentleman, The Lawal Era in TNA is on the horizon!