Fight fans worried about "King Mo" getting back into the 205-pound "mix" by crushing cans, rest easy, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney is having none of it.
"King Mo" was put down by "The Hardcore Kid" last month in Utah (did he see it coming?) while "Babalu" got stiffened by the wily Russian at Bellator 85 the month before. That means both favorites are now bounced from the tournament, but don't expect Lawal's career to be put on ice.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney explains to MMA Fighting:
"We rebuild him in a huge way. We put him back in, get him busy as quickly as humanly possible and we rebuild him. The magic of MMA is that anything can happen on any given day. I'm sitting in my hotel room late at night after Mo's fight and I'm watching SportsCenter, and the No. 6 moment of the day was the highlight of Emanuel Newton, this guy many people had never heard of, executing a spinning backfist that hit Mo right on the button. That moment is what we are all about. We're not going to take King Mo or Chandler or Curran or anybody else and feed them cans to get them to the promised land. You have to win the toughest tourney in sports to get to earn your shot at a title. If you get through, you've absolutely earned it. The reality is, when this tournament was set up, people were talking about King Mo meeting Babalu in the finals. Those are the moments that speak to how good Bellator is. We're going to build Mo back. I talk to him constantly. We're planning the strategy. He'll have to go through same gauntlet to get there. If he gets through, he'll earn that shot at the title, but he's not going to leapfrog over anyone. He's not going to get in by any way other than earning it, and that's what makes us different from the competition."
It's been a rough stretch for the former division II national champion, who left the ZUFFA roster in the wake of a drug test fiasco. That came after his near-death experience at the hands of Staph infection, which followed a 205-pound title loss to Rafael Cavalcante in Strikeforce.
Lawal has the talent to be rebuilt, but he's got a long road ahead of him -- with or without cans.