"The intensity has picked up a lot, man. I got Omar Lima, Ross Nakaji, and my boy Tim at the gym I'm working with. So I got 3 people working with me to get this healing process sped up. I'm just ready to come back healthy and do my thing, man...I want to retire people or ruin them so bad they lose their next fight or switch weight classes. That's my goal," stated former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion and newly signed Bellator light heavyweight King Mo Lawal, who talked about how his rehab his going, his future plans as he prepares to make his Bellator and TNA debut, and much more. Check it out!
PC: My son is dying to see you on TNA. What is the process to seeing you on there?
KM: I gotta go to wrestling school in Louisville, Kentucky at this place called OVW [Ohio Valley Wrestling]. They gonna show me the ropes and the ins and outs. I already know some of them, but I gotta clean it up and make sure I look clean out there because when I hit TNA, I'm gonna be on the screen live, you know what I'm saying? They can't edit nothing, so if I mess up, it's going to show, so they don't want no mistakes. They want me to get out there and do everything perfectly. This is tough man because fighting is what you do. Fighting is all natural and instinct and all, but pro wrestling is all improv. You freestyling the match as it goes. It ain't no joke, dog.
PC: Has it changed a lot from when you had your WWE tryout or are you expecting things to be the same?
KM: It's like this, I had a WWE tryout back in '04, and things have changed a little bit because now you see more chain wrestling as opposed to back in '04, you saw a lot of high flying. Now you see more chain wrestling. You don't see as many death-defying jumps. It's more, I don't want to say technical, but you see more mat wrestling. It's like it was back in the 70's, 80's and early 90's, when you saw more chain wrestling and story-telling. Then when you hit the late 90's and 2000's, you saw creative stuff that didn't make no sense, and now we getting back to the way it used to be; better mat wrestling and guys flowing better.
PC: An interesting twist would be Rampage or Roy Nelson being a tag team partner. I know you said you would like either guy. Have you come up with any names yet if they were your tag partners?
KM: I don't know, man. If it was me and Big Country, I don't know, something like "The Country City," (laughing) and if it was me and Rampage, it would be like "Harlem Heat 2.0" or "Doom 2.0." That was 2 dominant black tag teams, so we would be something like that. A fan sent in a good name on the Mo Grind, they said, "Mo Rampage." I like that.
PC: Unfortunately you always have your negative criticism and I see some fans saying you're trying to make friends with Rampage now and things like that.
KM: The thing is, me and Rampage thing was never personal because it was just my job. Now I'm older and more into the sport and I see all of this is just bull. I don't care nothing about that. It's about money and fighting. Whatever he said in the past is over. We're cool now. We saw each other, we squashed beef, and I see people saying like, "Oh, you are trying to be friends with him." Be friends with him for what? I have no problem with him. We ain't friends, but we're cool. You won't see him say anything bad about me and I'm not going to say anything bad about him. We're cool.
PC: January is the targeted date for your MMA return. When I spoke to you the other day, it sounded like your intensity in rehab has picked up big time. Is that the case? Has rehab gotten real serious here lately?
KM: The intensity has picked up a lot, man. I got Omar Lima, Ross Nakaji, and my boy Tim at the gym I'm working with. So I got 3 people working with me to get this healing process sped up. I'm just ready to come back healthy and do my thing, man.
PC: Omar Lima has been a big part of what you have been doing, not just on the rehab front, but strength and conditioning in general. How much has he meant to you as far as the goals you are setting for yourself?
KM: Man, let me tell you something, Omar is my dog, man. I talk to him just about every day; that's my go-to man. I got two strength coach's; my first strength coach is Omar and my second one is Jon Chaimberg. Chaimberg is my boy; both of them are my boys. Omar is my dog because we are in the same city, we travel together, and that's my boy, mayne. He knows what it takes to be a champion.
PC: Switching over to boxing, our boy Bryan Vera has a rematch coming up against Sergio Mora. How do you see that one playing out?
KM: I see the same outcome. Bryan has to settle down and box and when Sergio Mora wants to get crazy and slug (laughing), we all know my boy Bryan Vera got more gunpowder than he do, so I thinkÂ…I hope my boy Vera beat this clown down and retire him. That's how it was in wrestling. When me and Daniel [Cormier] wrestled, our goal was to beat you so bad that you had to contemplate retirement. We used to have bets, "I bet you this year I retire more people. What you want to bet?" We used to go out there and retire people because that's how you gain power.
PC: Is that the mindset when you hit the Bellator cage next year?
KM: Yep! I want to retire people or ruin them so bad they lose their next fight or switch weight classes. That's my goal.
PC: When do you plan on reuniting with Jeff Mayweather to start back at getting your hands right?
KM: In a few months. Probably after pro wrestling school I will be working with Jeff. I want to get with Jeff and Fareed. Jeff is my boy, so once I get done with pro wrestling school, I will be with them. I think Fareed might come out there with me when I'm at pro wrestling school for a few times and help me.
PC: What did you think of the Victor Ortiz and Josesito Lopez fight?
KM: Personally, it was one helluva fight. Ortiz could have made it a lot easier if he would have just boxed and moved his head more. He went out there like a warrior though and there is nothing wrong with that. But Lopez went out there like a warrior too and broke his jaw. And you know what, let him live to fight another day because it was broken in two spots. He probably could have fought on a little longer, but who knows how much more damage he would have sustained. Personally, I would have tried to go until I get stopped, but that's why I'm dumb. Smart people will last longer and they have longevity in the sport. When you see Arturo Gatti, he was a soldier and everybody loved him, but he took some ass whoopins, dog. He would take a punch rather than taking a knee and gathering himself. He would go out on a stretcher before he quit, and that's cool and entertaining, but when it's all said and done, people remember Arturo Gatti for the Mickey Ward fights, but as soon as Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo happened, their fight kind of got put on the backburner. There will always be a fight that people forget your fight over and you gotta ask yourself sometimes is it worth it. I can't call Ortiz a pussy because he has been getting punched in the face since he was a kid boxing, so he knows when something isn't right.
PC: I agree. I would have liked to see his trainer step in and stop it or call the doctor over and force his hand, but at the end of the day, he wasn't fighting Canelo Alvarez on September 15th anyway.
KM: Yeah, and the thing is, I remember my old manager, Ryan Parsons, said, "Mo, the nastiest injury I've ever seen was when Benji Radach fought Chris Leben." I was like, "What happened?" He was like, "Mo, Chris Leben was getting beat up. He hit Benji Radach with a punch so hard it broke his jaw." I was like, "How did you know that?" He said, "Because he took him down and he opened his mouth and I saw the darkest color of red fall out of his mouth. It was spewing out of his mouth." Victor Ortiz, let me tell you something, I don't know when he broke his jaw, but when I saw him spitting, I saw that same thick and dark blood coming out of his mouth. It was like mucus, but it was blood coming out of his mouth, and I knew it was pretty bad, and come to find it was broken in two different places and it took almost two hours to fix his jaw. And once you break your jaw, I'm pretty sure it's that much easier to get broken again, so it's not like fighters are Superman where we get beat up, heal, and come back stronger. Man, you get beat up, heal, and come back weaker, especially when it comes to anything involving your face; orbital bone, jaw line, or the brain. You don't become more immune to it. The more it happens, you get weaker and weaker. It's like when you get concussed. It's that much easier to get a concussion after that first time.
PC: And like you said, in boxing, you're just going to keep getting hit in the face. It's not like Ortiz could have secured a takedown and bought some time or played the control game. Eventually, he was going to be getting hit in the jaw again after that minute rest.
KM: Yup. If it was MMA, he can get a clinch, push him against the cage, and get a takedown. He could have pulled guard and wrapped him up, and it's still all dangerous to continue like that, but it's better than going out knowing your only weapons are throwing hands and defending. In boxing, you can clinch, but not for long before the ref separates you, and he could even deduct a point.
PC: Before I let you go, I gotta get your thoughts on Chad Dawson's fight against Andre Ward. I want to see Chad Dawson at the weigh-ins before I make an official pick, but I'm putting you on the spot. Who are you leaning towards?
KM: I'm not gonna lean. I'm going to pick Andre Ward. Andre Ward is going to outwork him and be stronger. I think Andre Ward is going to muscle him around. He is deceptively strong. My boy Allen Green is not a small dude and he muscled Allen. I think Andre Ward has deceptive strength; he has speed, deceptive power, and a good punch output. He is real unpredictable and I think that will be too much for Dawson to overcome. I put it like this, we need more throwback fighters. The throwback fighters didn't think just because a guy is 5 pounds heavier or 8 pounds heavier, they couldn't fight them. That's how I am. I don't give a damn what weight class you in, if I can make the weight, I'm gonna fight your ass. We need more people like Chad Dawson and Andre Ward in the fight game, and I mean in all combat sports.
PC: Again, sadly some fans feel you aren't a true champion by saying you fight at money weight and you will fight in any weight class.
KM: It's like this, we all fight for money and we all fight because we got goals we want to accomplish in the sport, but money is a big motivating factor because guys like me and Andre Ward and Daniel Cormier, Trent Paulson and Shawn Bunch, we pretty much competed for free for a long time because of our extended amateur careers. Now, if you want to see a show, show us the bread because we competed for a long time for people's entertainment as amateurs, taking unnecessary punishment and training hard. Now that we are pros in combat sports of MMA and boxing, it's time to compensate us. We are being paid for our talents for all of the work we put in before then.
PC: I agree with that. Well, you know we'll be talking leading up to your TNA and Bellator debuts. Is there anything else you want to say Mo?
KM: I wanna give a shout out to Ben Askren, dog. He's one of the most dominant 170-pounders in the world and people want to knock him and say he's boring; well, he's winning. There have been plenty of boring basketball and football games, but at the end of the day, it only matters who won the game. A winner is a winner. Shout out to my boy Shawn Bunch, Daniel Cormier...DC, my boy Trent Paulson, you gonna hear about him pretty soon, Mike Kogan, FightHype for having me always, and everybody out there doing something positive. I gotta shout out MMA Elite and my people over there, Alden, Robert and the MMA Elite crew. I want to shout out everybody out there doing something positive.