Muhammed Lawal was forced out of the four-man, one-night light heavyweight tournament final -- which went down last weekend (Sat., Sept. 19, 2015) at the Bellator 142: "Dynamite 1" event -- after he suffered a rib fracture in his opening fight against Linton Vassell.
A few days removed from the Spike TV event, "King Mo" now knows the extent of his injury, as X-rays revealed he suffered torn cartilage between his ribs, as well as a fracture in his seventh rib which will keep him on the bench for six to eight weeks.
According to his comments on MMA Junkie Radio, "King Mo" was ready to participate in the finale, but the extended wait time in between fights caused his body to cool down and his ribs to tighten up.
"I'm a fighter, and this is my job, but I wasn't going to risk going out there being hurt and putting on a weak-ass performance. I thought we only had 30 or 45 minutes in between (the semifinals and final). I went in the back, and I was like, I can stay warm and stretch. I'm back there staying warm and stretching. 30 minutes turns to 45, 45 minutes turns into one hour, and one hour turns into two. The second or third kickboxing (match on the card), I tried to move, and I'm struggling. I can't move. My (rib) is clicking and popping. People backstage saw what was going on and brought someone back. I was going to try to fight, but after talking to my coaches, they were like, ‘You can't even move,' and the doctor was like, ‘We feel the clicking and popping, so we'll contact the alternate.'"
In his absence, Francis Carmont stepped in to face Phil Davis in the final, losing by way of first round knockout (video highlights).
As for what's next for Lawal, he says he'll be ready to fight at the planned New Year's Eve event, which will be another co-promotion. This time, however, Bellator MMA will team up with Nobuyuki Sakakibara's new promotion which will be spearheaded by none other than Fedor Emelianenko.
And if he has a say in the matter, "King Mo" will be trading punches with the heavyweight legend to ring in the new year.
"Fighting Tito does nothing for my career. Fighting him is for nothing but a paycheck, but if he wants it, he can get it. For the most part, I'm not out there trying to get him. I wouldn't mind fighting Phil Davis. I'll fight Fedor in Japan. I'll fight anybody. I didn't see (Davis') second fight because I was in the hospital, but I heard he looked great. So I wouldn't mind fighting him. Actually, I'd love to fight him. I'd fight Fedor if they let me. I'm not in the game of waiting. I waited for the UFC because I could have went there; they told me to wait. The thing is with me, I'm in the game of getting paid. So as soon as I'm healthy, I'm going to fight. If you keep on winning, you'll get what you need to get."
There is still no word on who exactly is on the list of potential challengers for Fedor, but Lawal wants to make it known he's throwing his name in the hat.
Anyone care to predict the outcome of a potential royal clash between "The Last Emperor" and "King Mo?"