King Mo Lawal wears his crown after his win over Roger Gracie at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2011 at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
King Mo, Muhammed Lawal, has always been an interesting figure in MMA. From his early days of gaudy ring entrances in Japan to a very vocal online presence that has both earned him fans and cost him jobs, Mo has always been a unique presence.
Now, he's getting ready to embark on his own path in the business by splitting his time between pro wrestling and MMA. This is not entirely new - Josh Barnett, Bobby Lashley, and various others have done it for years - but Mo will be the highest profile fighter to try it in America. How will it work out for him? We'll find out soon, as details on his upcoming schedule are now available.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney told MMA Junkie that Mo will be making his pro wrestling debut next month in TNA Wrestling. The former Strikeforce champion will be focused on TNA for the remainder of 2012, and is then expected to make his Bellator debut in early 2013. Here's Rebney on exactly how Mo will switch back and forth between the staged theatrics of pro wrestling, and the real demands of MMA training:
We're kind of trying to work through it right now to see. "Mo's always in the gym, so when you ask him that question, he says, 'Well, I can jump back and forth between the two lily pads pretty easily. I'm never out of shape, so I don't need to do a two-and-a-half-month hyper-intensive camp. If I focus for six weeks and watch tape, I'm going to be ready for my first fight.'
So I would say in an ideal situation, he'll be able to bounce - literally be able to do 'Impact,' do his first fight for Bellator, maybe take a little bit of time to do an 'Impact' taping, then come back and do another fight for Bellator. But we'll see. It's never been done. Brock (Lesnar) did one, then did the other, then went back and do the other. But no one's ever done both at the same time as hyper-intensively as he will.
With Mo's big personality, and both TNA and Bellator set to be featured on Spike TV next year, the King is an a fascinating position to become a new crossover star, and he takes the first step on that path next month.