Just a few short weeks ago, Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal was living a nightmare.
Following his victory over Lorenz Larkin in January, Lawal tested positive for Drostanolone (an anabolic steroid) metabolites. Months later, the Nevada State Athletic Commission fined him $39,000 and put him on a nine-month suspension.
To make matters worse, Lawal then exploded on Twitter in regards to commissioner Pat Lundvall’s line of questioning during his disciplinary hearing.
“I honestly feel like Lundvall was a racist (expletive) asking me if I can read or speak English. Go on somewhere with that bull (expletive),” he wrote.
That led to Lawal’s immediate release by Strikeforce and Zuffa officials.
In six short weeks, however, his fortunes have changed dramatically for the better.
Lawal signed contracts with Bellator Fighting Championships and TNA’s Impact Wrestling to appear as part of both promotions, with the promise of synergistic cross-promotion that hasn’t really been done before in the mixed martial arts and professional wrestling realms.
Lawal will perform on Impact Wrestling, beginning as soon as this summer, and then will also fight concurrently for Bellator on Spike TV, when the promotion moves over to the network in 2013.
Impact and Bellator will utilize his services at the same time, Lawal floating back and forth between wrestling matches and MMA bouts. He will receive the benefit of promoting his wrestling career on Bellator, as well as his fight career on Impact, along with various other opportunities that Spike TV has to offer.
“He’s the first guy that’s gonna look to conquer both of these realms in the sports entertainment arena simultaneously,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney on Thursday.
“It’s not for everyone. Mo is that very, very unique fit. In terms of a guy to really be able to live in both realms, and to potentially be able to rule both realms, this is the guy.”
For Lawal, it represents the realization of a dream.
King Mo has always been one of the more colorful characters in the mixed martial arts world. So much so that he was courted by pro wrestling’s top dog, the WWE, in the past, but he passed on that opportunity, instead focusing on his MMA career.
“It’s a dream come true. It was a big dream. I thought I lost it when I turned down the WWE contract,” said Lawal. “And now, it circled back around. I’m excited and I had to jump on it.”
Whether he can pull it off remains to be seen. With TNA and Bellator working closely with Spike TV, once Bellator hits the network in January, all the parts are there for an amazing level of synergistic brand building.
Lawal, however, is the one that has to find a way to put the pieces of his career in place to take full advantage. He’s gung ho to hit take both Bellator and Impact by storm, but juggling two extremely demanding and physically taxing professions simultaneously promises no guarantees.
An injured knee has already slowed down the beginning of his stint with TNA. Lawal certainly has the will, the want, and most definitely the desire to realize his dream; now he’s just got to hope that his body responds.
If it does, King Mo will be living the dream.
“I’m pretty much speechless. I came to the realization that I’m here to knock people out in the cage and hit people with chairs in the ring. So both ways, I’m winning.”
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