As we teased early this morning, it has now been confirmed that former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal (8-1, 1 NC) has signed a deal to compete in both pro mixed martial arts with Bellator Fighting Championshps and in pro wrestling with TNA Impact Wrestling.
Spike TV President Kevin Kay, along with Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney, TNA Entertainment President Dixie Carter and King Mo held a media conference call Thursday to announce the signing.
Lawal will begin his journey into pro wrestling this summer with TNA on Spike TV and will continue his pro MMA career when Bellator moves from MTV2 to their new television home on Spike TV in 2013.
Before fans see Lawal body-slamming Sting or pile-driving Kurt Angle, he will attend Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), TNA’s developmental promotion in Louisville, Ky., where he will cut his proverbial pro wrestling teeth and learn the ins-and-outs of the craft.
Rebney commented on adding Lawal to the Bellator 205 pound roster:
“King Mo is an incredible athlete and a great addition to the Bellator family. He immediately adds prominence and star-power to our light heavyweight division.”
Carter spoke about Lawal joining the TNA family:
“King Mo is the perfect athlete for this type of alliance. He is the real deal in MMA, and his bold personality and world class wrestling accomplishments are unparalleled. I’m confident he will have a major impact in both sports.”
King Mo commented on the opportunity:
“This deal is a dream come true for me. Bjorn and Dixie have given me the opportunity to engage in my two great loves, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling, at the same time. And, to have it all on Spike TV is really Buttercream icing on a big ole cake – not that whipped cream stuff either!”
Following a successful amateur wrestling career at Oklahoma State University, Lawal had his first pro MMA fight in September 2008, knocking out longtime veteran Travis Wiuff at Sengoku 5 in Japan. After racking up six straight wins, Lawal won the Strikeforce light heavyweight title in April 2010 with a unanimous decision victory over Gegard Mousasi.
Lawal lost the title in his next bout via TKO to Rafael Cavalcante, but returned nearly a year later to score a knockout win over Roger Gracie. Then in January 2012, following a knockout win over Lorenz Larkin, Lawal tested positive for the anabolic steroid Drostanolone and was subsequently suspended for nine months and his win over Larkin was overturned to a no contest.
Lawal was released from Strikeforce in March after he made some disparaging comments on Twitter about one of the Nevada State Athletic Commissioners he felt had treated him unfairly at the commission hearing where he received his suspension.