I shouldn't have been surprised when news broke Muhammed Lawal had signed with Bellator Fighting Championships. After being unceremoniously dropped from Strikeforce after testing positive for steroids and then insulting a female athletic commission member, Zuffa -- owner of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Strikeforce -- would be hard-pressed to keep "King Mo" on its roster.
When I received a press release in my email inbox that announced Lawal was the newest wrestler on Total Nonstop Action's (TNA) roster, I wasn't shocked. The former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion had long indicated he was a professional wrestling fan and, according to one former WWE wrestler, Lawal actually received a tryout with the dominant wrestling promotion before opting to try his hand at mixed martial arts (MMA).
What did surprise me was the revelation "King Mo" was not only going to fight for Bellator on Fridays, but you'd be able to see him wrestling the likes of Jeff Hardy, Rob Van Dam and Sting for TNA on Impact every Thursday.
FIghting and wrestling simultaneously is nothing new. Across the Pacific, Don Frye, Yoshihiro Takayama, Kevin Randleman and Mark Coleman were doing just that nearly a decade ago.
But, there's a chasm of difference between those men then and Lawal now. And the difference makes his newfound plan downright horrible.
Frye, Takayama and Nobuhiko Takada fought and wrestled in Japan where an injection here or a pill there could help them ignore a bum ankle or an ailing shoulder. This way, they'd be able to throw haymakers or powerbomb their opponents, depending on which performance they were set to put on.
Stateside, "King Mo" will not have the same luxury.
While TNA's drug testing policy is a farce, it can afford to be. Professional wrestling, since being outed as a scripted show by Vince McMahon in the 1980s, doesn't have government regulations to adhere by and is left to manage and control itself.
MMA promotions don't operate the same way.
They are subject to athletic commissions that will issue drug tests for everything from steroids to pot. Take a Barry Bonds cocktail or enjoy a night out with Nick Diaz and you'll find yourself on the business end of positive piss test.
Pro wrestling is scripted and to an extent, fake. No, they're not really punching or kicking each other, but you can't fake being dropped onto your back from 10 feet in their air. Yes, wrestlers are trained to take those kinds of "bumps" in the safest way possible, but falling down is falling down and night after night, it takes an unimaginable toll on one's body.
This is exactly why so many wrestlers become addicted to pain killers. They need something to help take the edge off and get them through at least one more night. Wrestlers, like fighters, are usually never 100 percent physically and will have to perform through injuries.
If you thought being a fighter is tough, being a wrestler is equally strenuous on the body.
Now imagine doing both at the same time.
More than this, what if Lawal suffers an injury inside the ring during an episode of Impact? He would have to drop out of whatever fights Bellator has him booked for. And conversely, any injuries "King Mo" suffers inside the cage would alter any storyline plans and matches TNA has in store for the former Strikeforce champion. There are simply too many things that could go wrong.
"King Mo" might have seen a check with more zeros than he's ever seen in his life, but the damage he could do to his body in this new venture might end up not being worth it.
I don't care about some what idiot will think about the legitimacy of MMA when he sees Lawal wrestling one night and then fighting the next. What I care about is a talented, young man with the gift of gab undertaking a plan that could significantly lessen the length of his career.
I hope "King Mo" knows what he's in for.