One of the potential credible opponents who is not available to the UFC for Lightheavyweight Champion Jon Jones is ‘King’ Mo Lawal. Lawal, a stand out from the STRIKEFORCE roster was cut by ZUFFA after a positive drug test and is under suspension in MMA. He did however sign a large deal with MMA group Bellator that includes a tie in with pro wrestling organization TnA. Lawal cannot compete in MMA for a few more months due to the suspension, but TnA recently announced Lawal’s appearance for their brand, in the traditional role of guest ‘enforcer’ a type of referee. Should be interesting…
Everyone from Jack Dempsey to Mike Tyson to Floyd Mayweather Jr from the boxing world has at one time or another taken the payday and appeared at a pro wrestling event. But Lawal is the first to sign a contract tying an MMA company and a pro wrestling company to work together on his image.
But that is what makes it interesting. As mentioned, he is appearing on the Pro Wrestling TnA show very short term, and they are billing him as an ‘MMA Champion’. They have no footage from STRIKEFORCE, and are unlikely to be able to even name the organizations he has fought in on the broadcast. At least WWE says ‘Brock Lesnar, former UFC Champion’.
TnA has a roster of smaller wrestlers, so Lawal wont look bad. Remember when ‘Tank’ Abbott went to WCW and looked downright tiny?
So they will bill Lawal as this generic ‘MMA champion’ until he gets back to MMA in Bellator.
So what happens if ‘King’ Mo gets his ass handed to him in a high hat in his MMA debut for Bellator? It is unlikely to happen, as Bellator has a paper thin roster at 205 and Lawal is a top notch MMA guy. But there are things coming in MMA, by virtue of it being a sport, that we haven’t seen yet. Like Tyson-Douglas level upsets. If Lawal loses in MMA upon his return, the companies involved should use their outs from the contract (they must have cut clauses).
Despite it being entertainment, pro wrestling is hard and accidents happen. This means that Mo is at least healed from his injuries and able to put in some ring time. And he will certainly receive a super heros welcome via the script in pro wrestling.
When he is announced as fighting for Bellator early in 2013 is when things really will get interesting.