Muhammed Lawal

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For the Nigerian governor of Ogun and then Kwara states, see Mohammed Lawal.
Muhammed Lawal
Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal picture for Wikipedia.jpg
Muhammed Lawal in Los Angeles, on April 15, 2012
Born (1981-01-11) January 11, 1981 (age 34)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, United States
Other names King Mo
Nationality American
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 217 lb (98 kg; 15 st 7 lb)
Division Light Heavyweight (2009–present)
Heavyweight (2008–2009; 2015)
Reach 79.0 in (201 cm)
Style Wrestling, Boxing
Fighting out of Coconut Creek, Florida, United States
Team American Top Team
Rank NCAA Division I Wrestling
Years active 2008–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total 20
Wins 15
By knockout 11
By decision 4
Losses 4
By knockout 2
By decision 2
No contests 1
Other information
University Oklahoma State University
University of Central Oklahoma
Notable school(s) Plano East Senior High School
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog
last updated on: April 18, 2011
Muhammed Lawal
Medal record
Competitor for  United States
Men's freestyle wrestling
World Cup
Silver medal – second place 2007 Krasnoyarsk -96 kg
Pan American Championships
Gold medal – first place 2007 San Salvador -96 kg
United States Championships
Gold medal – first place 2008 Las Vegas -84 kg
Silver medal – second place 2007 Las Vegas -96 kg
Gold medal – first place 2006 Las Vegas -84 kg
Gold medal – first place 2005 Las Vegas -84 kg
Bronze medal – third place 2004 Las Vegas -84 kg

Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal[1] (born January 11, 1981) is an American mixed martial artist. He is signed with Bellator as an MMA fighter, Lawal is the former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion, and has also competed for World Victory Road and M-1 Global. According to the and rankings, he is the number 4 ranked light heavyweight in the world (outside of the UFC) and Bellator, Respectively. He is also known for his time in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as a professional wrestler.


Lawal was raised along with his siblings by a single Muslim mother. Growing up, Lawal was a fan of professional wrestling and began competing in wrestling at Plano East Senior High School in Plano, Texas. As a junior, Lawal won a state title in the Greco-Roman category and also finished as a state runner-up. During his senior season, Lawal went undefeated and became a state champion. Lawal also competed in football, earning All-District honors as a linebacker during his junior season and as a wide receiver in his senior season. Lawal also lettered in track and field.[2]

Lawal went on to compete in NCAA Division II wrestling at the University of Central Oklahoma. He finished in 2nd place in the nation in 2001 and was a national champion in 2002 For his senior year, Lawal moved on to Division I at Oklahoma State University. Lawal became a Big 12 Conference Champion and Division 1 All-American in 2003 for Oklahoma State, where he finished in third place for the 197 pound division. Lawal was also the University Freestyle National Champion at 185 pounds this year. After college Lawal continued his wrestling career at the senior level, and also competed in the newly formed Real Pro Wrestling league and became the champion of the 184 pound weight class in 2004. He won the Senior U.S. National Champion in Freestyle Wrestling three times, in 2005, 2006 and 2008. For over three years, Lawal was the number one ranked wrestler in the United States in the 84 kilogram division.[3] After narrowly missing entrance to the 2008 Olympics, for which he was favored a spot, Lawal decided to enter the world of mixed martial arts.[4][5]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

World Victory Road[edit]

In his 2008 mixed martial arts debut at Sengoku 5, Lawal fought Travis Wiuff, a veteran of 66 fights at the time, knocking him out in the first round.

At Sengoku 6, Lawal fought Fábio Silva on November 1, 2008, defeating him in the third round via strikes.[6]

On January 4, 2009 Lawal faced Yukiya Naito at Sengoku Rebellion 2009, defeating him in the first round with punches.[7]

On March 20, 2009 at Sengoku 7, Lawal defeated Ryo Kawamura by unanimous decision. His first time going the distance, Lawal attributed his performance to a knee injury sustained about a week before the fight, "I kinda tweaked it rolling around [with Dean Lister], and I tried to rehab it as much as I could before the fight."[8]

M-1 Global[edit]

On August 28, 2009 Lawal fought for the first time on U.S. soil against Mark Kerr at M-1 Global Presents Breakthrough. Lawal defeated Kerr by technical knockout 25 seconds into the fight.[9]


On October 13, 2009, it was announced that Lawal had signed a multi-fight contract with U.S. based promotion Strikeforce. The contract allowed him to continue fighting in the Japanese circuit where he has gained his notoriety.

On December 19 at Strikeforce: Evolution Lawal fought Mike Whitehead, defeating him three minutes and eight seconds into round one via KO (punches). Lawal came in showing relaxed hands and strong counter punching and caught Whitehead with a strong right which dropped him. Lawal followed up with three punches causing the referee to stop the fight.

On April 17, 2010, Lawal defeated Gegard Mousasi by unanimous decision to win the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.

Lawal lost the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship in Houston Texas, on August 21, against Rafael Cavalcante by TKO due to punches and elbows of 1:14 of round 3.

Lawal was out of action until mid-2011 after undergoing surgery to repair a knee injury.[10]

Lawal was scheduled to fight Roger Gracie at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson on July 30, 2011. Gracie, however, withdrew from the bout in late June due to an injury.[11] The fight was rescheduled for Strikeforce World Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov on Sept. 10, 2011, and Lawal won via KO in the first round.

Lawal garnered his second straight victory, defeating previously unbeaten Lorenz Larkin at Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine via second round KO. However, Lawal tested positive for anabolic steroids (Drostanolone) and as a result of the banned substance, the fight's result has been changed to a no contest while Lawal will have his license suspended for one year.[12] After meeting with the Nevada State Athletic Commission on March 27, 2012 his suspension was reduced to nine months.[13]

Lawal was released from Strikeforce following comments he made on Twitter regarding Pat Lundvall after his hearing for his drug test. Lawal said, "She asked if I did research for my training. I didn't get what she meant by the question, and she rolled her eyes and asked, 'Do you speak English? Can you read?' I felt I was disrespected by the woman's comments. How are you going to ask a college educated, well traveled man if he can speak or read English? I'm speaking English right in front of you and I've been speaking English right in front of you for the past 15 minutes."[14][15] After the release, Lawal issued an apology to Lundvall, stating, "I was out of line for calling the woman the b-word and I was wrong for that. I was kind of mad about the comments, I was offended by the comments made towards me and I was out of line. I was too emotional. I apologize for that. With that being said, I still feel that I was offended, but I'm in the wrong for what I said."[16]

Bellator MMA[edit]

On May 10, 2012, it was reported that Lawal had signed a contract with the mixed martial arts promotion Bellator Fighting Championships.[17]

On January 24, 2013, Lawal made his Bellator debut as a participant in the Season 8 Light Heavyweight tournament. He defeated Przemyslaw Mysiala in the quarterfinal round via right hook.[18] Lawal faced Emanuel Newton in the semifinals on February 21, 2013 at Bellator 90. Despite being a considerable favorite, Lawal lost via KO due to a spinning back fist in the first round.

Lawal will compete in Bellator's Light Heavyweight summer series tournament on Spike.[19] He faced Seth Petruzelli in the opening round of a 4-man tournament at Bellator 96 on June 19, 2013, he won the fight by KO due to a punch in full guard at 1:35 of the first round.

Lawal next faced Jacob Noe at Bellator 97 in the Light Heavyweight tournament final. He won via TKO due to punches in round three to win the Bellator 2013 Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament.

Lawal faced Emanuel Newton in a rematch for the Interim Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship on November 2, 2013 at Bellator 106.[20] Lawal lost via unanimous decision.

Lawal entered into the Bellator season ten Light Heavyweight tournament on February 28, 2014. He faced Mikhail Zayats in the semifinals at Bellator 110 and won the fight via unanimous decision. He faced Quinton Jackson in the tournament final for a title shot. He lost the fight via unanimous decision.

Muhammed Lawal was scheduled to fight Tom DeBlass on September 5, 2014 at Bellator 123; however, Tom DeBlass suffered a knee injury and was forced off the card. Lawal was expected to fight replacement Marcus Sursa at Bellator 123; however instead faced Dustin Jacoby. [21] Lawal won the fight via TKO in the second round.

Lawal was again expected to face Tom DeBlass on November 15, 2014 at Bellator 131.[22] However, on November 1, it was announced that Deblass had suffered a cut during training and had to withdraw from the bout.[23] Lawal eventually faced Joe Vedepo. He won via TKO due to punches in the third round.

Lawal faced Cheick Kongo in a Heavyweight bout on February 27, 2015 at Bellator 134.[24] He won the fight by split decision.

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 15–4 (1) Cheick Kongo Decision (split) Bellator 134 February 27, 2015 3 5:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Return to Heavyweight.
Win 14–4 (1) Joe Vedepo TKO (punches) Bellator 131 November 15, 2014 3 0:39 San Diego, California, United States
Win 13–4 (1) Dustin Jacoby TKO (punches) Bellator 123 September 5, 2014 2 1:13 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States
Loss 12–4 (1) Quinton Jackson Decision (unanimous) Bellator 120 May 17, 2014 3 5:00 Southaven, Mississippi, United States Bellator Season 10 Light Heavyweight Tournament Final.
Win 12–3 (1) Mikhail Zayats Decision (unanimous) Bellator 110 February 28, 2014 3 5:00 Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Bellator Season 10 Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinals.
Loss 11–3 (1) Emanuel Newton Decision (unanimous) Bellator 106 November 2, 2013 5 5:00 Long Beach, California, United States For the Interim Bellator Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 11–2 (1) Jacob Noe TKO (punches) Bellator 97 July 31, 2013 3 2:51 Rio Rancho, New Mexico, United States Bellator 2013 Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Final.
Win 10–2 (1) Seth Petruzelli KO (punch) Bellator 96 June 19, 2013 1 1:35 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States Bellator 2013 Summer Series Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal.
Loss 9–2 (1) Emanuel Newton KO (spinning back fist) Bellator 90 February 21, 2013 1 2:35 West Valley City, Utah, United States Bellator Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament Semifinal.
Win 9–1 (1) Przemyslaw Mysiala KO (punch) Bellator 86 January 24, 2013 1 3:52 Thackerville, Oklahoma, United States Bellator Season 8 Light Heavyweight Tournament Quarterfinals.
NC 8–1 (1) Lorenz Larkin No Contest Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine January 7, 2012 2 1:32 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Original KO win; result overturned after Lawal tested positive for Drostanolone.
Win 8–1 Roger Gracie KO (punch) Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov September 10, 2011 1 4:37 Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Loss 7–1 Rafael Cavalcante TKO (punches & elbows) Strikeforce: Houston August 21, 2010 3 1:14 Houston, Texas, United States Lost the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 7–0 Gegard Mousasi Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Nashville April 17, 2010 5 5:00 Nashville, Tennessee, United States Return to Light Heavyweight; Won the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 6–0 Mike Whitehead KO (punches) Strikeforce: Evolution December 19, 2009 1 3:08 San Jose, California, United States
Win 5–0 Mark Kerr KO (punches) M-1 Global: Breakthrough August 28, 2009 1 0:25 Kansas City, Kansas, United States Return to Heavyweight.
Win 4–0 Ryo Kawamura Decision (unanimous) Sengoku 7 March 20, 2009 3 5:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 3–0 Yukiya Naito TKO (punches) Sengoku no Ran 2009 January 4, 2009 1 3:54 Saitama, Japan Light Heavyweight debut.
Win 2–0 Fábio Silva TKO (punches) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 6 November 1, 2008 3 0:41 Saitama, Japan
Win 1–0 Travis Wiuff TKO (punches) World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 5 September 28, 2008 1 2:11 Tokyo, Japan

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Muhammed Lawal
Birth name Muhammed Lawal
Born (1981-01-11) January 11, 1981 (age 34)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee [25]
Resides San Jose, California [25]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) King Mo
Billed height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) [26]
Billed weight 205 lb (93 kg) [26]
Billed from San Jose, California [26]
Trained by Ohio Valley Wrestling [27]
Debut September 2012

Early career[edit]

Lawal was a professional wrestling fan from an early age.[27] Upon graduating from college, Lawal was offered a contract by the professional wrestling promotion World Wrestling Entertainment. Lawal spent a week at Ohio Valley Wrestling, WWE's developmental territory, before ultimately rejecting the contract offer, instead opting to pursue a career in mixed martial arts.[28][29]

Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2012–present)[edit]

In May 2012, upon signing with Bellator Fighting Championships, Lawal also signed a separate contract with the professional wrestling promotion Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), with the intention of simultaneously pursuing careers in mixed martial arts and professional wrestling.[25][29] Lawal stated that he expected to appear with TNA "two or three times a month or whenever they can book me" and that "if I have a fight coming up, I won’t be doing shows or taping".[27][30] In September 2012, it was reported that Lawal would train as a professional wrestler at Ohio Valley Wrestling, now TNA's developmental territory in Louisville, Kentucky.[27] Lawal made his first appearance in TNA on the October 4, 2012 episode of Impact Wrestling.[31] He went on to serve as a special guest enforcer for a street fight between Bobby Roode and James Storm at the Bound for Glory pay-per-view on October 14, 2012.[32]

King Mo returned to TNA return on the July 24, 2014 episode of Impact Wrestling as a heel, attacking Tommy Dreamer, Bully Ray and Devon and aligning with Team Dixie and Dixie Carter.[33] In late 2014, King Mo was removed from Team Dixie due to his absence for TNA.

When asked in February 2015 if he will appear again for TNA, King Mo stated: "I've always been MMA 100%. If they call me I'll make an appearance. Right now, there is nothing going on in wrestling unless they book me to do something."

Independent circuit (2014)[edit]

On June 14, 2014 at House of Hardcore 6 King Mo took part in a special Master Lock challenge from Chris Masters along with other wrestlers in the end, King Mo was able to avoid being to put in The Masterlock and he was able to put Masters in a leg lock submission making Masters tap out.[34]

In wrestling[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Lawal's parents are immigrants from Nigeria. Lawal was born in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. He has a younger brother named Abdullah and a younger sister named Aminat. The three were raised by a single mother, "My mom [Nike Rosseau] pretty much raised us all. My dad was never around." Muhammed's father committed suicide when Lawal was twenty years old.[36]

After his fight with Larkin, Lawal was diagnosed with Staphylococcus obtained from knee surgery. Lawal had a fever of 103 degrees, and the infection ate away at parts of his hip and legs, "I had this moment where I was like, man, I can see my hip bone. I was ripped still. I had an eight-pack. But there's my hip bone. I looked at my leg, and it looked like those zombies from The Walking Dead. I feel like I looked death in the face, and I survived."[37][38][39]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed Martial Arts[edit]


Amateur wrestling[edit]

  • International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles
    • 2007 Hargobind International Tournament Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist
    • 2007 Alexander Medved International Senior Freestyle Silver Medalist
    • 2007 Pan American Championships Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist
    • 2007 World Cup Senior Freestyle Silver Medalist
    • 2007 Takhti Cup Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist
    • 2006 Golden Grand Prix Senior Freestyle Bronze Medalist
    • 2006 Uzbekistan Independence Cup Golden Grand Prix Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist
    • 2006 Yasar Dogu International Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist
    • 2006 Dave Schultz Memorial International Open Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist
    • 2005 Dave Schultz Memorial International Open Senior Freestyle Silver Medalist
    • 2004 Clan International Championships Senior Freestyle Silver Medalist
    • 2004 Dave Schultz Memorial International Open Senior Freestyle Bronze Medalist
    • 2004 FILA Manitoba Open Senior Freestyle Silver Medalist
    • 2003 Sunkist Kids International Open Senior Freestyle Bronze Medalist
  • USA Wrestling
    • USA Senior Freestyle National Championship (2005, 2006, 2008)
    • USA University Freestyle National Championship (2003)
    • 2006 NYAC Christmas Championships Senior Freestyle Gold Medalist
    • 2005 FILA World Team Trials Senior Freestyle Winner
    • 2004 NYAC Christmas Championships Senior Freestyle Silver Medalist

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Muhammed Lawal - Oklahoma State Official Athletic Site". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Most Popular". CNN. 
  5. ^ "Muhammed Lawal ("King Mo") - MMA Fighter Page - Tapology". Tapology. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Sengoku "Seventh Battle" Play-by-Play". Sherdog. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  8. ^ "‘King Mo’ Reigns in ‘Seventh Battle’ Main Event". Sherdog. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  9. ^ "Lawal Mauls Kerr, Fedor Submits Mousasi at M-1". Sherdog. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Manager: Lawal Out 9 Months for Knee Surgery". Retrieved 2010-12-05. 
  11. ^ "Roger Gracie withdraws from Strikeforce bout with Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal KNOCKED ROGER THE EFF OUT DOE". 2011-06-25. 
  12. ^ "Strikeforce's 'King Mo' Lawal tests positive for anabolic steroid, fighter denies use". Retrieved 2012-01-17. 
  13. ^ "Nevada Commission Hands ‘King Mo’ 9-Month Suspension, Changes Jan. 7 Victory to No Contest". Sherdog. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  14. ^ "Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal Responds To NSAC Suspension, Explains Twitter Comments - Bloody Elbow". Bloody Elbow. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "'King' Mo Lawal Responds To Zuffa Release, Discusses Today's Events - Bloody Elbow". Bloody Elbow. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Bleacher Report". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  17. ^ Caldwell, James (2012-05-10). "TNA/MMA News: Press Release - King Mo joins TNA and Bellator as part of two separate deals". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2012-05-10. 
  18. ^
  19. ^ "King Mo Lawal Slated to Return as Part of Bellator Summer Series Tournament -". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Muhammed Lawal-Emanuel Newton rematch for interim title on Bellator 106 PPV". 2013-08-15. Retrieved 2013-08-15. 
  21. ^ "Dustin Jacoby now meets Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal at Bellator 123". MMAjunkie. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 
  22. ^ "Lawal-DeBlass reset for Nov. 15". September 22, 2014. 
  23. ^ Staff (2014-11-02). "Nasty cut forces Tom DeBlass out of 'King Mo' fight at Bellator 131". Retrieved 2014-11-01. 
  24. ^ Staff (January 20, 2015). "'King Mo' Lawal, Cheick Kongo meet in heavyweight bout at Bellator 134". 
  25. ^ a b c "King Mo, Bellator & TNA Join Forces For Unprecedented Alliance On SpikeTV". 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  26. ^ a b c "King Mo". Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  27. ^ a b c d e f Fishman, Scott (September 4, 2012). "King Mo Muhammed Lawal with Bellator Fighting, TNA Impact Wrestling on Spike TV". The Miami Herald. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  28. ^ Caldwell, James (May 10, 2012). "TNA News: King Mo talks decision to join TNA, influence of Sting & Hogan, TNA stars he wants to work with, will he face MMA fighter in TNA?". Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  29. ^ a b Bishop, Matt (May 11, 2012). "MMA fighter and life-long wrestling fan 'King Mo' to begin TNA career". Retrieved 2012-10-02. 
  30. ^ Caldwell, James (May 18, 2012). "King Mo reveals TNA schedule". Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter. Retrieved 2012-09-14. 
  31. ^ Caldwell, James (2012-10-04). "Caldwell's TNA Impact results 10/4: Ongoing "virtual-time" coverage of live Impact - King Mo's TV debut, Aries-Hardy latest PPV hype". Retrieved 2012-10-04. 
  32. ^ Caldwell, James (2012-10-14). "Caldwell's TNA Bound for Glory PPV results 10/14: Ongoing "virtual time" coverage of live PPV - Aries vs. Hardy, Storm vs. Roode". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  33. ^ "FULL IMPACT SPOILERS FROM NYC FOR THE 7/17 AND 7/24 EPISODES -". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  34. ^ "House of Hardcore 6.14.14 results". 
  35. ^ "10/3 TNA Conference Call with Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal: King Mo answers questions on being in TNA and Bellator, his role in the Bobby Roode vs. James Storm match, learning to wrestle, and more". October 23, 2012. Retrieved 2012-10-06. 
  36. ^ "MMA Magazine -FIGHT! Magazine – Archives - Just another WordPress site". FIGHT! Magazine. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  37. ^ "King Mo reportedly suffered life-threatening staph infection, health scare now under control -". 21 February 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2014. 
  38. ^ "Lawal's fight back from infection, positive drug test just beginning". CNN. March 23, 2012. 
  39. ^ "theScore". Retrieved 7 September 2014. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Gegard Mousasi
4th Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion
April 17, 2010 – August 21, 2010
Succeeded by
Rafael Cavalcante