Muhammed Lawal signs with Bellator
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal has signed a multifight deal with Bellator Fighting Championships and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, the promotions announced Thursday.
Terms of the deal were not revealed, but Lawal will begin his professional wrestling career with TNA Wrestling this summer. He is scheduled to make his Bellator debut next year when the mixed martial arts promotion moves its television broadcasts from MTV2 to Spike TV.
TNA Wrestling currently airs on Spike TV.
"This deal is a dream come true for me," Lawal said during a media conference call. "(Bellator CEO) Bjorn (Rebney) and (TNA Wrestling president) Dixie (Carter) have given me the opportunity to engage in my two loves, mixed martial arts and professional wrestling, at the same time."
The deal comes less than two months after Lawal was hit with a nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a failed postfight drug test.
Lawal tested positive for the anabolic steroid drostanolone immediately after his second-round TKO of Lorenz Larkin on Jan. 7. The win was later overturned and deemed a no contest.
Lawal's suspension is retroactive to the date of that fight.
The 31-year-old testified that the drostanolone entered his body as a result of an over-the-counter supplement he purchased to treat a knee injury suffered before the fight with Larkin.
Lawal said he was unaware the supplement contained drostanolone or any other banned substance.
After the March 27 hearing, Lawal took to Twitter and lashed out at NSAC commissioner Pat Lundvall, who, during the proceedings, asked the fighter about his ability to speak or read English.
Lawal termed the line of questioning "insulting, prejudiced and a lil racist." He later used a derogatory term to describe Lundvall.
Shortly after the outburst, Zuffa LLC, which owns Strikeforce and UFC, released Lawal.
During a pre-UFC on Fox 3 news conference Thursday, promotion president Dana White hinted at being open to the possibility of Lawal returning to fight under the Zuffa banner.
Lawal, however, put any chance of him ever again competing in Strikeforce or UFC to rest.
"Let's put it like this: The door is closed," Lawal said. "I'm not going to wait for nobody. If someone comes to me with something that makes sense, and is a good deal, I'm going to take the best deal.
"Right now, Bellator and Impact Wrestling is the best deal I could possibly get, and I'm glad I chose it."
Lawal has a professional mixed martial arts record of 8-1 with one no contest. He has never competed in professional wrestling.
"King Mo is the perfect athlete for this type of alliance," Carter said. "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."
Lawal was an NCAA Division I All-American wrestler at Oklahoma State University in 2003.