With Bellator’s long awaited Spike debut approximately eight weeks away, questions began to surface regarding Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal’s participation in the light-heavyweight tournament in January. Although it was a torn ACL that put him on the shelf for an extended period, it was the severe staph infection following the surgery that had the most devastating impact on Mo. After a long rehabilitation process, it was announced that King Mo had signed with Spike TV and would be simultaneously performing as a MMA fighter and a professional wrestler on their TNA Impact show.
During the Bellator 79 post-fight media scrum, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney discussed King Mo’s current health status and when he is expected the former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champ to make his Bellator debut.
“Mo left early yesterday morning [Thursday] to train in Holland for six weeks,” he said. “He just spent four and a half weeks training with the team at TNA Impact, working on his wrestling chops. They said he was about 85% back from an explosion perspective. I talk to him about this all the time. Mo was at the Zaromskis fight a week ago and he said his knee was about 90%.”
“He has got a physical therapist who is going to be working with him in Holland to try and get that last 10% done,” he revealed, “I have full confidence he will, in January, be with us on Spike and fighting in the light-heavyweight tournament.”
When asked to explain his position on King Mo’s positive drug test, Bjorn was firm on his belief that Lawal was innocent stating that he would “defend him to the grave.”
“I have known Mo for a lot of years. He cut a bad deal,” Bjorn explained, “You and I could walk into a nutritional supplement store a year and a half ago and you and I, with cash in our pockets, could buy the exact same supplement that he took. Mo had been tested over 50 times by the highest level of testing organizations that exist in the world. Everybody that could test you at an elite level tested Mo. Clean, clean, clean for years. For years Mo turned up clean and then he took a supplement that had a banned substance in it.”
Whilst Bjorn will defend King Mo’s positive drug test, he certainly does not intend to deny the fighter’s accountability for the supplement he choses to take.
“I understand everybody is accountable for what they do,” he said, ” I have a lot of respect for that concept in general, but Mo’s whole thing, I just think it’s unfair and I don’t think he is one of those reclamation projects.”
When all is said and done, not only does Bjorn believe that King Mo is a legitimate talent and a significant threat to any light-heavyweight fighter on the Bellator roster, but a genuine person worthy of the opportunity as well.
“I think Mo is a wickedly talented light-heavy, he is a great personality, trains like a madman. He is a constant source of inspiration in teaching other guys at his gym. He is a really, really good character.”