The 31-year-old elite wrestler will compete simultaneously as a mixed martial artist under the Bellator banner and a professional wrestler for TNA, a crossover that suits the expressive fighter well.
“This deal is a dream come true for me,” Lawal said. “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!”
Lawal was suspended for nine months after testing positive for anabolic steroids this past January following his win over Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine. King Mo retained his spot in the promotion though, until he chose harsh words to criticize Nevada State Athletic Commission chair holder Pat Lundvall’s demeanor during his disciplinary hearing. The comments ended Lawal’s tenure with Zuffa, but opened the door to Bellator, where he’s a welcome addition to the 205lbs division.
“King Mo is an incredible athlete and a great addition to the Bellator family,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. “He immediately adds prominence and star-power to our light heavyweight division.”
A self-professed pro wrestling fan, Lawal is known almost as much for his showmanship as for his formidable athletic abilities – a quality that will see him get along well at TNA Wrestling.
“King Mo is the perfect athlete for this type of alliance,” TNA president Dixie Carter. “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.”
Though Bellator currently airs on MTV2, the promotion is headed to SpikeTV – the home of TNA Wrestling – next year. Lawal’s suspension is over in September, but he’s not expected to compete until the promotion switches networks in January.