After nearly 11 years of professional competition, Muhammad “King Mo” Lawal decided to retire from mixed martial arts. The announcement was made by his stable American Top Team through an Instagram post on Monday.
Now 38 years of age, the former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion spoke to MMA Fighting in detail about his decision to retire, most of his reasons stemming from the injuries he’s sustained over the course of his career.
“It’s been on my mind for a while,” Lawal said. “I just put it in the back of my head. It was the pain from the injuries that was messing me up and my lack of range of motion from my hip and my knee. I’ve been fighting most of my career with no legs, a messed up knee or a messed up hip and after I had that hip surgery where they put titanium metal in my hip, it kind of made me think — I’m going to need a knee replacement, I’m going to need an elbow replacement, I’m going to need a hip replacement.
“I was like I’m getting old, I’m 38, I’ve got kids. I can’t even run right now. I can’t even jog really. I’m that bad. It’s to the point where if I can’t jog or sprint or be explosive, then I’ve got to stop.”
King Mo, however, does not intend to leave combat sports entirely, as he plans to be on the other side of the fence, coaching. He is even willing to transcend beyond mixed martial arts.
“I’m going to be around the sport,” he said. “I’m going to be in MMA, maybe dip into boxing and help some fighters out in boxing. Michael Hunter, I’m talking to him. He almost fought Anthony Joshua but Joshua picked Andrew Ruiz and we saw how that turned out for Anthony Joshua.
“Michael Hunter is right in the mix, I’ve known him since 2005 when he was an amateur. I’ve been helping him, I’ve been sparring with him. So when he comes down, I’m going to help him get ready.
“Coaching, giving back the information I’ve received from coaches in the past,” Lawal added. “It’s a great option.”
Lawal ended his career with a record of 21-9 (with 1 NC and 13 wins by knockout). He last saw action at Rizin 15 last April, where he lost via third-round TKO to Jiri Prochazka.