Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal is a mixed martial artist and professional wrestler under the banners of Bellator and TNA Wrestling, respectively. He was the first to pioneer this hybrid deal between the two companies, a move that was later also made by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Mo is a former standout collegiate wrestler and a former light-heavyweight champion of the Strikeforce organization. After college, Mo became the 184lbs champion of the Real Professional Wrestling league. For over three years Lawal was the #1 ranked national wrestler in the 84 kilogram division. Mo began training MMA after narrowly missing a spot on the 2008 Olympic Wrestling roster.
King Mo made his debut at Sengoku 5 with a first-round knockout of veteran Travis Wiuff. He followed that performance with a third round TKO of Fabio Silva at Sengoku 6. Both bouts were contested in the heavyweight division. Mo then fought twice at light-heavyweight, defeating Yukiya Naito and Ryo Kawamura. In his fifth tilt, Mo made his MMA debut on US soil defeating heavyweight Mark Kerr by TKO at 25 seconds of the first round. At the tail end of 2009, after less than a year and a half in the sport, Mo signed with the Strikeforce organization. A first round KO of Mike Whitehead earned Lawal a shot at the LHW title. King Mo went on to defeat champion Gegard Mousasi in a five-round decision.
During his first title defense, Mo was TKO’ed in the third round by Rafael Cavalcante. Mo returned to the win column with a devastating first-round knockout of jiu-jitsu ace Roger Gracie. His tenth fight was another brutal TKO, this time of Lorenz Larkin. The bout was ruled a “no contest” after the fact due to King Mo’s post fight urine test, the results of which found Drostanolone, an anabolic steroid often marketed as Masteron, in his system. King Mo served a one-year suspension that was later reduced to nine months by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
During his suspension, he was released from his contract by Zuffa after he made some disparaging remarks about an NSAC commissioner and her insulting treatment of him during his hearing. He later apologized and stated that while he was still offended by her actions he was too emotional and out of line for his. In May of 2012, Mo announced that he had signed a deal with Bellator and TNA, two promotions owned in part by the Viacom corporation. Mo made his promotional debut in the Season 8 light-heavyweight tournament, where he defeated Przemyslaw Mysiala in the quarterfinal round. He went on to be upset in the semifinals by the eventual tournament winner Emanuel Newton; a heavy underdog, Newton KO’ed King Mo with a spinning backfist halfway through the first round.
Lawal is making a second run at a Bellator title shot in the opening rounds of the Summer Season 4-man tournament, June 19th, 2013 against Seth “The Kimbo Killer” Petruzelli.