If you follow Bellator at all, you've likely heard all of the things King Mo Lawal has been saying about Emanuel Newton lately. Mo, who was knocked out by a Newton spinning backfist in their first bout at Bellator 90, called the shot that put him down "feminine", then followed it up with an even harsher assessment of him.
The two men will rematch at this weekend's Bellator 106 for an interim light heavyweight title, and Newton was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to respond to Mo's assessment of him. In the middle of that though, Mo called into the show and they went back and forth for a while. First off, Newton responded to all of Mo's earlier comments:
"I've never said anything bad about this man," Newton said. "Anything that I've said, it's been relevant and true. I said he's cocky. He is cocky. I said he's arrogant. He is arrogant. I said he's a self-proclaimed king. He is a self proclaimed king.
"It's not like there were a city or state or country of people who voted you to be the king. This isn't England. You're a self-proclaimed king," continued Newton.
"He's talking a lot of crap, but that's just Mo. That's how he gets himself hyped. He's never been knocked out like that before, so I'm sure at the same time a lot of it is, he's a little confused by me, by my style of fighting, by the way I live my life, my personality. I don't think he understands it, especially with me being a black gentleman. I'm not into rap and I don't walk around with big headphones on my head. I don't run my mouth."
After giving his own description of the spinning backfist that finished the first bout, he responded to a Mo allegation that seemed to bother him the most - Mo said that Newton approached him in a sauna and said ""N----, I'm coming for you." Newton stated that a conversation did indeed take place, but he wouldn't say anything like that:
"That hurts me right there, man. That really does," Newton responded after a long pause. "I don't use (that kind of language). I don't. Even when I see super ghetto individuals.
"Why would he even say that? I remember we were in the sauna, and I just said... I don't even remember what I said. But I never said, ‘N-word, I'm coming for you.' Maybe I said something like, ‘Oh, it's going to be a fight,' but all respect."
After a few more minutes of defending himself, his interview ended. Then Mo called in out of nowhere, and was put on the air to give his side:
"Here's the thing, right? I never gave myself the name ‘King Mo,'" Lawal explained. "My brother Kami Barzini did, the wrestling coach at American Top Team, just for the fact that when I used to wrestle overseas, the crowd loved me. He said, ‘You're the king of the crowd.' I said, cool I'll run with that instead of going to Japan and saying I'm a drug dealer, because that's what they wanted me to do.
"Two, I'm arrogant and cocky? Na, I am a little bit arrogant and cocky, because when it comes down to it, when we train hard and it's time to fight, you have to be arrogant and cocky. You're not going in there saying, ‘Hey, I'm going to give it my all.' No one's like that. No fighter is like that. Fighters, when it's time to go and fight in the cage, you're arrogant and cocky, self-centered, because everything is around you. You train hard. You take time for yourself. The team is built around you. So for him to say that, that's cool. He's the same way."
Mo stuck to his guns about the sauna incident, repeating what Newton said. And surprisingly, Newton immediately called back to apologize for that and they went back and forth for a little while:
"You're right, Mo. I apologize," Newton acknowledged. "I said it more in a joking way, brother. I didn't say it in any disrespectful way, but you're right."
"It's not a bad thing you said it," Lawal countered. "It's cool. But I'm just saying, you said you're coming for me. You got me. That's all."
"No, you're right," Newton replied. "I did say that. I accept that. I did say I'm coming for you, but it didn't recollect it because it wasn't in, like, a mean way.
"I've never told (manager Mike) Kogan that you were overrated. I think you're an amazing fighter, brother. I think your wrestling is top level, your hands, your style. I'm ready for a good fight, brother. I never said you're overrated. I never said anything bad about you.
"Kogan was the one talking s--t," Newton hurriedly continued. "I'd never say anything bad about you, brother. You know we chilled in the airport before, when we were going to the summit in Florida. We had our nachos, we did our thing. I have no disrespect for you.
"We're just different personalities but I have nothing against you, Mo. And when we get down on Saturday, it's all going to be business. I don't want it to be any animosity at the weigh-ins. I don't want it to be any animosity when we go in the ring. Obviously we're going to be trying to take each other's heads off, but not in a bad way. It's all business, brother. I have no disrespect for you. I have nothing but good feelings for you, bro, and I wish you the best of luck on Saturday night."
But Mo wasn't in the spirit of backing down or patching things up:
"I don't even know, man, because really it don't even matter," Lawal concluded. "I play like this. To me, it's definitely going down November 2, and I'm not going to take my words back. You're a black skinhead, dog. Skinheads are motherf--kers that like punk rock and hardcore. You're a black skinhead, so I'm not taking what I said back. November 2, it's definitely going down."
That entire exchange was...odd, to say the least. Maybe the two men will get some closure this weekend. You can catch the bout on Spike TV.