Cleat Geeks

‘KING MO’ LAWAL: A TRUE FIGHTER’S SPIRIT

KING MO’ LAWAL: A TRUE FIGHTERS SPIRIT

I chose to do this article on King Mo, simply because he deserves the respect for moving up in weight, in an attempt at helping to salvage an event that has been plagued with fighter injuries. He has showcased a true fighter’s spirit and I wish more fighters these days had this type of attitude. It’s what a real fighter is made of and sadly, we’re starting to see a whole lot less of this from the new breed of fighters.

Muhammad ‘King Mo’ Lawal was a NCAA Division II wrestler for the University of Central Oklahoma. He ended 2001 with a 2nd place finish and went on to become the National Champion in 2002. He then moved up to Division 1 for his senior year at Oklahoma State University. There he became a Big 12 Conference Champion and a Division 1 All-American in 2003, where he took 3rd place in the 197lb division. King Mo continued his wrestling career after college at the senior level. He competed for Real Pro Wrestling, a league that produced many notable MMA stars including Daniel Cormier, Joe Warren and Aaron Simpson. Mo became the 184lb champion in 2004. He followed that up by becoming the Senior U.S. National Champion in freestyle wrestling 3 times (2005, 2006, 2008).

kingmoCrownMo started his MMA career in 2008 after failing to qualify for the Olympics earlier that same year. He made his debut in the heavyweight division for World Victory Road at Sengoku 5. There, he scored a first round knockout over Travis Wiuff, who was a 66-fight veteran at the time. He followed this up with three more victories under the WVR banner, defeating Fabio Silva, Yukia Naito and Ryo Kawamura. Mo then defeated Mark Kerr at M-1 Global: Breakthrough, before signing with Strikeforce in 2009. He knocked out Mike Whitehead in his Strikeforce debut,once again competing at heavyweight. He then received a title shot against the Light-Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi. He won the title by way of unanimous decision, only to lose it in his very next match-up, against Rafael Cavalcante. This marked the first loss of Lawal’s career.

Afterward, King Mo defeated Roger Gracie by first-round knockout. He scored his second-straight knockout victory, defeating Lorenz Larkin. Controversy soon followed, as this was later changed to a No Contest, this was the result of King Mo testing positive for an anabolic steroid called Drostanolone. He was then suspended for nine months because of the incident. Soon after, he was released from his Strikeforce contract, due to a vulgar tweet that he sent out, after a hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission, in which he called Pat Lundvall a bit**. Mo stated that he was offended by the fact that she had asked him ‘Do you speak English? Can you read?’ This came after he had already conversed in English with her for several minutes. During his suspension, following a surgery to repair his ACL, Mo contracted a life threatening staph infection. This required him to undergo over 14 surgeries.

King Mo and Rampage Jackson.

King Mo and Rampage Jackson.

After finally getting healthy, Lawal signed a multi-fight deal with BellatorMMA. King Mo made his Bellator debut at Bellator 86 on January 24,2013, defeating Przemyslaw Mysiala in the first round via knockout. This came after being out of action for over a year due to the staph infection and the suspension. One month later, Lawal was knocked out with a spinning back fist in an upset loss to the current light-heavyweight champion, Emanuel Newton. He then put together back-to- back wins over Seth Petruzelli and Jacob Noe, defeating the first by KO and the latter via TKO. Afterward, Emanuel Newton once again defeated him. This time by way of unanimous decision, in an Interim Light-Heavyweight title match-up. Lawal won his next match-up and this set up a grudge match against Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at Bellator 120.

These two had been verbally assaulting each other for several years and as a result, this became a highly anticipated match-up that helped Bellator in putting on their first successful pay-per-view. King Mo was defeated in the long awaited match-up by way of a very controversial unanimous decision. He has since gotten back to his winning ways with two TKO victories. He first defeated Dustin Jacoby before following that up with a win over Joe Vedepo. King Mo currently holds a Bellator record of 6-3 and he’ll have the opportunity to add yet another victory to that record, this Friday night at Bellator 134. This will be a very tough match-up for Mo, as He’ll be facing off against one of Bellator’s top ranked heavyweights, Cheick Kongo. No matter the outcome of Friday’s event, win or lose, King Mo should be respected by every fan of this great sport, for reminding us of what real fighters are made of and putting everything on the line in a match-up that he didn’t have to accept.

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