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'King' Mo Lawal talks UFC and Bellator Contract Matching, 'UFC groupie-ness'

Mo Lawal defends the Bellator actions of "matching" offers to fighters like Tyson Nam, effectively blocking them from moving on after being cut by the promotion. In doing so, he attacks fans for turning their heads as the UFC takes similar actions.

Tracy Lee /

"King" Mo Lawal's name has been at the center of much of the bickering between Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney and UFC president Dana White. The two promoters have taken shots back and forth over contract matching, starting with Dana saying that Bellator was being "dirty" by blocking promotions from signing Tyson Nam after they cut him, followed by Rebney saying that the UFC does the same thing, and did so with Lawal's contract after Zuffa cut him from Strikeforce and he attempted to sign with Bellator. White has denied that claim, saying that Lawal's manager brought the offer to them to see if they wanted to match.

Here's what Mo had to say about the situation:

"I just chose to follow through with it because you never know what's going to happen," Lawal said. "Say I were to sign, and the UFC got mad - they could sue me or something. I played the safe route. If they weren't going to enforce it, why would they put it in their contract?"

"Some people have to open their eyes up and pay attention. A lot of this UFC groupie-ness is a joke. If the UFC does it, turn your head. But if Bellator or somebody else does it, all eyes are focused on them, (and) it's negative. How can anybody say it's bad for Bellator to do it and not bad for the UFC to do it when they all do it? It is what it is. It's in the contracts. Let it go."

Of course, the part in the article that says "The UFC's matching term is believed to be six months while Bellator's extends for 18" is kind of important to the "whole story" and the claims that "both sides" do it.

There's also the basic idea that Bellator certainly looks worse here for being the ones who cut guys without giving them fights only to suddenly decide that they wanted to match offers because other promotions became interested.