TNA, Spike TV and Bellator Fighting Championships officially announced the signing of former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammad "King Mo" Lawal earlier this afternoon. Here is their official press release regarding the signing:
KING MO, BELLATOR AND TNA WRESTLING JOIN FORCES FOR UNPRECEDENTED ALLIANCE ON SPIKE TV
Former Light Heavyweight Champ to Fight for Bellator in 2013 And Join the Stars of TNA Wrestling This Summer
New York, NY, May 10, 2012 – In an unprecedented move – one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts, "King Mo" Lawal, has signed a deal to compete in Spike TV's two major sports properties, Bellator Fighting Championships and TNA's IMPACT Wrestling. King Mo will join the stars of TNA this summer and resume his mixed martial arts career next year when Bellator Fighting Championships moves to Spike TV from its current television home, MTV2. The deal was jointly announced today by Kevin Kay, President, Spike TV along with Bjorn Rebney, Chairman & CEO, Bellator Fighting Championships and Dixie Carter, President, TNA Entertainment.
"King Mo is an incredible athlete and a great addition to the Bellator family. He immediately adds prominence and star-power to our light heavyweight division," said Rebney.
"King Mo is the perfect athlete for this type of alliance. He is the real deal in MMA, and his bold personality and world class wrestling accomplishments are unparalleled. I'm confident he will have a major impact in both sports," stated Carter.
Lawal (10-1-1) launched his mixed martial arts career in 2008, and after four straight wins, he faced off against his toughest challenge, renowned fighter Mark Kerr. King Mo knocked out Kerr in the first round, and eight months later he defeated Gegard Mousasi in a Light Heavyweight world title fight. Lawal also holds an impressive KO victory against multiple-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion Roger Gracie in September 2011.
"This deal is a dream come true for me," Lawal said. "Bjorn and Dixie have given me the opportunity to engage in my two great loves, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling, at the same time. And, to have it all on Spike TV is really Buttercream icing on a big ole cake – not that whipped cream stuff either!"
King Mo rose to grappling acclaim as a NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University in 2003 and a three-time U.S. National Champion (2005, 2006, and 2008) in the 84 kilogram division. In 2007, as a member of the U.S. National team, he brought home a gold medal at the Pan American Games and a silver medal at the World Cup.
A native of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Lawal lives in San Jose, Calif. and trains with the prominent American Kickboxing Academy.