MAY 11, 2012 AT 1:00 AM
Thursday was a dream come true for Muhammed Lawal.
Spike TV, in conjunction with Bellator and TNA Wrestling, announced a landmark deal that will see “King Mo” become a professional wrestler this summer before starting in Bellator when they move from MTV2 to Spike in 2013.
Spike, the former home of the UFC on cable, broadcasts TNA’s “Impact Wrestling” every Thursday night.
Lawal, a former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion and lifelong professional wrestling fan, is ecstatic about the opportunity to further his MMA career while becoming a pro wrestler.
“I’m pretty much speechless,” Lawal said Thursday on a conference call announcing the move. “I’ve been thinking about it. I had a hard time sleeping and now I came to the realization that I get to knock people out in the cage and hit people with chairs in the ring. Both ways, I’m winning. I’m ready for what the future has to offer and it’s looking bright right now and it’s going to stay bright.”
Lawal’s manager, Mike Kogan, told The Detroit News on Thursday that Lawal is with Bellator and TNA because of Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. After Lawal was released from Strikeforce because of inflammatory comments toward the Nevada State Athletic Commission (which he later apologized for), Kogan said he received a text message from Bellator 15 minutes after the news broke.
“This deal was put together because of the vision Bjorn Rebney had,” Kogan said. “It wasn’t my vision. I just saw its benefits and got sold on the concept. He put together a serious team of people, really high up people, Kevin Kay from Spike, Dixie Carter from TNA. Bjorn was a driving force behind all this. We’re going to do whatever they tell us to do.”
And for Carter, the president of TNA, this signing is the culmination of something she has sought for years: having a legitimate MMA fighter under contract who also will wrestle for her company.
“It’s so legit from where he stands in the MMA world, I think it’s perfect,” she said.
Kay, the president of Spike, said Lawal has individual deals with Bellator and TNA, not with Spike.
Lawal is expected to make his debut with TNA later this summer and will debut in Bellator in January as part of the company’s light-heavyweight tournament when they debut on Spike.
“When you’ve got one family at Viacom, under one umbrella … we’re all sitting in one room,” Rebney said. “Literally, Kevin, Dixie and I are sitting in one room orchestrating how this will work. We’re working with Mo, as a partner of ours, not as an employee, but as someone sitting down with us and (figuring out how it will work).”
Lawal will start in Bellator at 205 pounds, but, like always, has made it clear that he is a “moneyweight,” meaning he’ll fight at any weight class if the price is right.
“Mo always wants to challenge himself,” Kogan said. “The immediate goal is to build a strong 205-pound division and bring attention to it. That’s the immediate goal. Once Bellator feels that goal has been accomplished and we feel we’ve accomplished that goal, I think potential fights at heavyweight, in kind of a super-fight format, is not out of line at all. Mo’s fought heavyweights already. I don’t think he’s going to be a middleweight, but if he gets (Floyd) Mayweather money, he’ll make it.”
UFC president Dana White said following Lawal’s release from Strikeforce that the door was open for Lawal’s return, but Thursday’s announcement put an end to that and Lawal has no regrets about it.
“Let’s put it like this: The door is closed,” Lawal said. “It’s plain and simple. I’m not going to wait for anybody. If somebody comes to me with something that makes sense and is good and a great deal, I’m going to take the best deal. And right now, the Bellator deal is the best deal you can get. I’m glad I chose it.”
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120511/OPINION03/205110352#ixzz1ua2ixVP3
Muhammed Lawal was born on January 11th, 1981 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammed_Lawal
January 11th, 1981
1 + 11 +1+9+8+1 = 31 = his life lesson = Wrestler. Wrestling. Mixed martial arts. Competitor. Competition. Training. Sparring.
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